The Pirates made Felipe Rivero’s extension official today, announcing that they’ve signed him to a four-year deal with two option years. The deal pays him a guaranteed $22 M, and can be worth up to $41 M over six years if his options are picked up.
Rivero and Pirates’ General Manager Neal Huntington talked with the media via conference call after the announcement. Here were the highlights:
**When there’s an extension, the discussion always comes up about the player leaving more money on the table by not going year-to-year. This ignores the risk that the player could get injured or have poor performance reduce his value. Rivero didn’t seem to care either way, as he wasn’t looking for the most money possible, but ultimately signed due to his comfort with the team.
“It’s not about the money. It’s not about getting more,” Rivero said. “It’s if you feel comfortable with the team. That’s what made me accept this deal.”
**There were some questions after the Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen trades on how Rivero would handle the deals, especially after he tweeted a few reactions to the McCutchen trade. Rivero said that it was tough for him to see McCutchen and Cole leaving.
“I was a little surprised because they said they were going to keep them, and then that came out,” Rivero said. “We have more guys in the clubhouse that can help the team, and we’re just trying to move forward.”
Huntington said that Rivero didn’t express any concerns to him in regards to the extension.
“None that were expressed to me,” Huntington said. “We’ve talked about his future, his role, his teammates, and some of the additions we’ve made. There’s a lot of misinformation, and a lot of false narrative out there about when we are looking to compete again. We’re looking to compete again this year. We believe this club is a lot closer to the ’11, ’12, and ’13 Pirates than we were to the ’07, ’08, and ’09 Pirates. There was enough talent at the Major League level, on the verge of the Major League level. We’ve added to that group. And Felipe, as one of the best young closers in the game, gives us some certainty in the back of the bullpen, and will continue to be an important pitcher for us going forward.”
I’ll be discussing more about the contending comments in an upcoming column.
**Huntington talked about the additions of Michael Feliz and Kyle Crick as “power arms with ceiling” that could potentially be added to Rivero in the back of the bullpen. He also said that potentially some of their young starters can play a meaningful role out of the bullpen until a rotation opportunity opens up, which is what happened with Trevor Williams last year.
**Rivero said that his sister and his agent worked to negotiate the deal. This is interesting, as he added Scott Boras as his agent last May, then dropped Boras in November. You’d have to wonder if the change was in order to try and work towards an extension, since Boras typically advises his clients against these types of deals.
**A year ago, Rivero was six months removed from being acquired by the Pirates, and was seen as a potential impact reliever. He’s now one of the best relievers in the game, and getting this extension.
“When I was traded, I did not expect something like this to happen in my life,” Rivero said of the quick ascension.