Jason Grilli Removed From Closer Role

The Pittsburgh Pirates have removed Jason Grilli from the closer’s role, Clint Hurdle announced to the media this afternoon. Grilli will be replaced by Mark Melancon. Jenn Menendez says that Grilli will get work when the team is behind.

Yesterday, Max Fogle detailed the struggles from Grilli this year. Last night I wrote that the Pirates needed to switch to Melancon. This is a move that makes sense in the short-term and long-term. Grilli was struggling, while Melancon has been pitching well and looks to be the better option right now. You don’t want to release Grilli based on a small sample size of innings, but you don’t want him pitching important innings while he’s trying to get things figured out. Having him pitching when the team is behind is a good situation for him. It gives him low pressure innings, and allows the Pirates to use their better relievers when they’re ahead.

Tim Williams

Author: 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.

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  • Nick Rexilius

    I still think Watson would be a better option than Melancon! I’m just not super confident in Mark anymore

    • bucsws2014

      He seems to have rediscovered his out pitch. When he was struggling last fall, he wasn’t striking out anyone it seemed. And patient hitters were taking him oppo. His BABIP is down significantly, which may indicate a regression is due. His walks are up a bit. But he appears to have the confidence back to attack, so the role probably should go to him over Watson.

      I ultimately think Watson will close here or elsewhere, but when he’s had the opportunity to close, it hasn’t gone well. He’s got 4 blown saves this year already.

      • Nick Rexilius

        Your probably right. I just want Watson to close so that when he gets the save I can yell “ELEMENTARY FOR WATSON!” Haha ;)

      • Josh Dz

        yeah but blown saves for a set up guy are a lot different than when a closer has a blown save… yes Watson got one the other night in th 8th versus the Marlins…. and a Pedro Error lead to that…

        but if TW comes in in the 8th with a guy on 3rd and one out and gives up a sac fly that ties the game he gets a blown save in the 8th…

        Im fairly certain you can get a blown save in the 7th as well.. thats a lot differnt than a 9th inning blown save when your starting the inning fresh

        • bucsws2014

          Watson hasn’t come in all that often mid-inning. He’s got a 90% strand rate. His blown saves vs. CHC, MIL, MIA were all on his own. I understand what you’re saying, and he’s among the hold leaders, but it’s still 3 blown saves in 20 hold/save opptys. Not horrible but not top notch either.

  • moose7195

    I guess no one told Grilli his closing career is over. I loved the fire he pitched with this afternoon, and the two baserunners do not deter me. I think he finds his way back at some point to the 9th inning role, he certainly appears to have the correct attitude coming off his demotion.