Bullpen Rumors: Uehara, Grilli, Bell, Adams, Qualls

The Pirates are looking for bullpen upgrades to join Hanrahan.

Three bullpen rumors this afternoon, since it seems like the Pirates are serious about upgrading that area of the team:

-Ken Rosenthal reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are eyeing Baltimore Orioles reliever Koji Uehara.  Uehara has been excellent this year, with a 1.84 ERA in 44 innings, along with a tremendous 58:8 K/BB ratio.  He’s also proven that he can start, with a 4.05 ERA in 66.2 innings over 12 starts in 2009, with a 6.5 K/9 and a 1.9 BB/9 ratio.  One downside is that he has a $4 M 2012 option that vests with 55 appearances.  He currently has 40, and would be a near lock to reach 55 this year, which would leave the Pirates on the hook for a $4 M reliever in 2012.  That might not be as bad if they use him as a starting option.

-Rosenthal also reports that the Pirates could soon be acquiring Jason Grilli from the Philadelphia Phillies.  Grilli is on a minor league contract with the Phillies, and has received at least one major league offer.  The Pirates are interested, so the offer could be from them.  The Phillies have three days to decide whether to promote Grilli to the majors, or lose him to a team offering a major league spot.  Rosenthal mentions that Grilli has been throwing 93-95 MPH with a power slider.  He struggled in 2009, but had a good year under Clint Hurdle in 2008 with a 2.93 ERA in 61.1 innings out of the bullpen.

Honestly, the move doesn’t make much sense for the Pirates.  Chris Leroux is pitching well, albeit in a small sample of games.  Meanwhile, Grilli is more of a depth option, filling out the bullpen rather than upgrading the late innings.  One benefit is that the Pirates move Leroux down to AAA with the move, giving them available depth in the event of an injury.  Of course, they run the risk of downgrading the last bullpen spot if Grilli doesn’t return to 2008 form, which really isn’t a massive blow to the team.

-I tweeted this last night, but Jon Heyman of SI reports that the Pirates are looking at Padres relievers, mentioning Heath Bell, Mike Adams, and Chad Qualls.  Honestly, I’ve never really been a fan of Qualls.  He’s good, but I’d rather stick with Jose Veras and Chris Resop in the late innings.  As for Bell and Adams, they’d both be upgrades in the late innings, although the price to get them would be high, and those resources might be best used on offensive upgrades.

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Pirates Prospects 7/19 Radio Appearances

Next Story »

Neal Huntington on Three Pirates Needs

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KEYHS3XWH74U3LRIHGWL7XPBA Nate

    The stats may say one thing, but watching Veras can cause quite a bit of stress.  Not sure I’d be confident with out there in the 8th inning of a playoff game.  Upgrades are always welcomed. 

    • Lee Young

      I was sooooooooooo happy they kept Resop in for the 9th.

      Today, if needed, I wonder if Hanrahan can close. If not, do we go with ‘gulp’ Veras?

      • Lee Young

        Resop for the 8th, not 9th.

Latest Analysis

  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Jose Tabata Changed His Swing After Talking With Marlon Byrd

    3 hours ago

    Yesterday, Jose Tabata put one on the roof of the batting cages over the left-field fence at Pirate City. Today, he added two more. By that pattern, ...

    Read More
  • Antonio Bastardo

    How Ray Searage is Trying to Fix Antonio Bastardo’s Control Issues

    5 hours ago

    Tony Watson has established himself as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Out of 142 qualified relievers last year, he ranked 21st in WAR, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Q&A: Will PNC Park Burn Down When Neil Walker Eventually Leaves?

    8 hours ago

    Last week we started a Q&A article that will run every Friday. Right after the first article went up, we got a lot more questions. Normally I’ll ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow

    The Change That Will Help Tyler Glasnow Reach His Upside

    1 day ago

    The 2011 draft made headlines for the Pittsburgh Pirates for two main reasons. They selected Gerrit Cole first overall, and gave him a record-setting bonus of $8 ...

    Read More
  • Jameson Taillon

    The Next Steps in Jameson Taillon’s Tommy John Rehab Process

    2 days ago

    Jameson Taillon threw a bullpen session yesterday, which I outlined in the daily recap. Taillon is still in “rehab mode” as Clint Hurdle put it, which means ...

    Read More
  • Sean Rodriguez

    The Keys to Sean Rodriguez Being a Productive Hitter

    3 days ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates added Sean Rodriguez at a high cost this off-season. They traded promising pitching prospect Buddy Borden to the Rays, getting Rodriguez in return after ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles