The Pittsburgh Pirates have outrighted right-handed reliever Ernesto Frieri to Triple-A, according to the MLB.com transactions page. This means that Frieri cleared waivers unclaimed.

Frieri came to the Pirates in a deal that sent Jason Grilli to the Los Angeles Angels in a swap of struggling relievers. Frieri never bounced back, and actually did worse in his time with the Pirates. He posted a 10.13 ERA in 10.2 innings, with an 8.4 K/9 and a 4.2 BB/9.

This might actually be the best thing that could happen for the Pirates and Frieri. Trying to turn him around quickly in a playoff race was a challenge. Trying to turn him around in the minors, where there is no pressure, no consequences to the poor outings, and he can get some work in with Jim Benedict, could be much more effective. I could see Frieri making it back up to Pittsburgh at some point when rosters expand, as that would allow the Pirates to keep him around next year if he does show improvements over the final months.

He looked like a good bounce back candidate when acquired, and that obviously didn’t happen in Pittsburgh. I still think he’s a bounce back candidate, and it looks like the Pirates will have more time to work with him now.

It’s also possible that Frieri could decline the assignment and become a free agent, although in doing so he would forfeit the remainder of his $3.8 M salary this year. Thus, it’s doubtful that this happens.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Re Frieri, it would be hard NOT to bounce back from a 10+ ERA. Shucks, he could give up “just” a run each inning he relieves and that would be an improvement.

  2. Probably the best thing for the guy. Remove the pressure of a pennant race, and give him a chance to fix his problems. Maybe he can make an impact in September.

    • Pimentel has electric stuff and will get claimed if placed on waivers. Much to the chagrin of it’s legion of impatient fans, the Bucs are playing the long game, as is befitting a bottom of the League revenue producer.

      Pimentel still has a big upside, and after carrying him all year, you don’t give that up with only two and a half weeks to go until roster expansion.

      • I think Pimental may have had electric stuff last year (sub 2 era in limited work last year), but he hasn’t looked so electric this year. His era this year of about 5.5, all as a reliever, is very un-electric. Why not see if he would clear waivers? The Pirates thought Mazzaro would be claimed and he wasn’t – twice. Frieri, who has done more in MLB and has at least a 93 mph fastball, cleared waivers. The Pirates are going to have to do something when Cole comes back anyway. They are suppose to be getting a team ready for the playoffs – right now there is no reason to think they could rely on SP to pitch in the playoffs and there is only about two weeks left to find someone who can. Cumpton is yet to throw one pitch this year as a reliever for the Pirates. There is something wrong if the vaunted Pirate farm system doesn’t have even one pitcher who has a chance of pitching better than SP has pitched this year.

        • Given Pimentel’s youth, velocity, and cheap contract/years of control, there’s no way in hell he gets through waivers.

          • Why not try? He can be pulled back off waivers, or traded for the right offer, or maybe you decide that he is not the same pitcher after his injury this year. Regardless, he is hurting the team this year and the Pirates needs better relief pitching to compete in the playoffs (if we make the playoffs). Who would you send down when Cole comes back?

  3. BTW, does anyone understand Pimentel’s role on the team or the plan the Pirates have for his “development”? Right now he serves as the closer on the team – he frequently closes out any chance the Pirates might have of coming back to win any game in which they trail.

    • I assume they Pirates are attempting to hide him, like the Brewers did with Wang for the season. He throws in the mid 90s and had a very good slider but had a shoulder injury early in the year and has been nothing but inconsistent. I think this would be defensible if the Pirates had four to five other relievers performing well, which they don’t.

  4. And in other news Lambo is now hitting .342 in Indy and we have two guys on the roster hitting about .160. In addition, we have one guy who it looks like aliens have come down and sucked out all of his baseball skills out of his brain.
    =
    This it. That’s the problem. It aliens.


    Seriously, I really feel sorry for the guy.

  5. I pity the fans in Indy! 🙂

    Meanwhile, the idiotic decision to keep Pimentel in Pittsburgh strikes again……..turns a 5-4 game into a 804 game in less than an inning. He is not a major league pitcher, but since he’s young, throws hard, and out of options we keep him up. Meanwhile, we have a guy – Mazzaro – in Indy who proved to be a very competent reliever last year.

    • Pimintel looked bad – a couple of his follow-throughs looked like he was aiming the ball – but if Polanco could keep the ball in his glove, maybe things aren’t completely out of control.

      I sort of understand Hurdle’s thinking. Not what I would’ve done, but we do know that one of Stolmy or Gomar will be leaving soon.

      Sloppy game by the defense. Tigers took advantage.

    • You can blame Neal for keeping Stolmy on the roster (then again every team needs a mop-up guy), but the decision to bring him in against the top of the Tigers’ order, in a 1-run game, when Hughes had just thrown all of 4 pitches, and a fresh Cumpton was available – that mismanagement is all on Hurdle. Had Stolmy set down the side in order, it would still have been a thoughtless decision.

      Be thankful the Bucs couldn’t muster any offense after the 7th, or you could argue he managed his way straight into an L.

      • Well, I have often thought Hurdle was a good motivator and seems to be well liked by his players. But, I have not been overly impressed with him as a manager in terms of managing the game, the bullpen, etc. Tonight wasn’t the first time this has happened – it happened with Frieri 2-3 times and at least 1-2 other times with Pimentel.

        The kid just isn’t very good – and was never dominant in the minors, at any level, other than short stretches. I don’t know what they see in him, quite frankly. I don’t care if he can throw upper 90s – so could Josh Wall and Duke Welker and where are they now?

        • He had a 3.13 era last year in AAA, and is still only 24. He was a pretty highly regarded prospect, made the futures game and everything. He has a very good changeup, that he basically never uses less frequently as a reliever that he’d probably bring back as a starter.

      • I agree about mazzaro, and thanks for clearing up what happened after nix threw the ball to second instead of getting the out at first, the wheels feel off then and I figured there was not much reason watching.

    • Mazzaro has been a very mediocre pitcher over the years. There is a reason that 29 MLB teams passed on him twice this year when they could have had him for free. There is a much better chance that Frieri will be an effective reliever next year than there is that Mazzaro will be.

      As for Pimentel, if exposed to waivers he would undoubtedly have been claimed. But they need to take the training wheels off next spring and give him a chance to competed for the #5 starting job.

      • I disagree – Mazzaro was more than adequate last year and is pitching well in Indy this year – and has all year. As for why so many teams failed to claim him, that is a mystery to me – as looking around the league, he is better than a lot of the garbage sitting in other teams’ bullpens.

        As for someone claiming Pimentel – big deal, no loss. We have at least 6-8 pitchers between AA and AAA (including the injured Taillon and Holmes) who will pass him up next Spring.

      • Then by all means expose pimentel to waivers and at least see if anybody claims him and if so what are they offering for him. At the very least the pirates pull him back with nothing lost, at best some team makes a good offer.

        • Revocable waivers does not remove a player from the roster. To get Pimental off the roster he would have to be placed on non-revocable waivers.

          • I understand that andy, that’s why I said the pirates have nothing to lose, if he clears waivers they can outright him to indy,if he is claimed depending on who is offered they could move him, if the offer stinks they keep him and the pirates are no worse off than they are now.

            • No, there are two different waiver systems. The one where he can get traded he can get pulled back from. The one where he would get demoted if anyone would claim him they would get nothing back.

              • John, maybe you are thinking of a player who has been withdrawn from waivers previously in the same season? I think the excerpt below from Wikipedia is accurate. Assuming it is, I would think the Pirates should – at least – see if SP would clear waivers – he has about a 5.5 era (all as a reliever), they were sure Mazzaro would not clear waivers and he did – twice. The Pirates are going to have to do something when Cole comes back anyway. They are suppose to be getting a team ready for the playoffs – right now there is no reason to think you could rely on SP to pitch in the playoffs and there is only about two weeks left to find someone who can. Cumpton is yet to throw one pitch this year as a reliever for the Pirates. There is something wrong if the vaunted Pirate farm system doesn’t have even one pitcher who has a chance of pitching better than SP has pitched this year.

                “Any player under contract may be placed on waivers (“waived”) at any time. After MLB’s July 31 trade deadline and through to the end of the season, however, a team must place a player on waivers if that player is to be traded.

                “If a player is waived, any team may claim him. If more than one team claims the player from waivers, the team with the weakest record in the player’s league gets preference. If no team in the player’s league claims him, the claiming team with the weakest record in the other league gets preference. In the first month of the season, preference is determined using the previous year’s standings.

                “If a team claims a player off waivers and has a viable claim as described above, his current team (the “waiving team”) may choose one of the following options:

                arrange a trade with the claiming team for that player within two business days of the claim; or

                rescind the request and keep the player on its major league roster, effectively canceling the waiver; or

                do nothing and allow the claiming team to assume the player’s existing contract, pay the waiving team a waiver fee, and place the player on its active major league roster.

                “If a player is claimed and the waiving team exercises its rescission option, the waiving team may not use the option again for that player in that season—a subsequent waiver would be irrevocable with a claiming team getting the player essentially for nothing.[6] If no team claims a player off waivers after three business days, the player has cleared waivers and may be assigned to a minor league team, traded (to any team), or released outright.

                “The waiver “wire” is a secret within the personnel of the Major League Baseball clubs; no official announcement of a waiver is made until a transaction actually occurs, although information sometimes leaks out.[6][7] Players are often waived during the post-July “waiver-required” trading period for teams to gauge trade interest in a particular player.[6] Usually, when the player is claimed, the waiving team will rescind the waiver to avoid losing the player unless a trade can be worked out with the claiming team.”

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