Pittsburgh Pirates Officially Announce Felipe Rivero Extension

As reported back on Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates and closer Felipe Rivero agreed to a four-year contract with club options for the 2022-23 seasons. The Pirates made that official today, announcing the news this morning.

General Manager Neal Huntington released a statement on the signing:

“We are pleased to make this long-term commitment to Felipe Rivero and are humbled that he has made a long-term commitment to the Pirates organization and our community,” said Huntington. “Felipe quickly established himself as one of the best young relief pitchers in Major League Baseball last season and we look forward to working with him to help us win games for potentially the next six seasons.”

According to reports, Rivero will receive $2.5 M this season, followed by $4M in 2019 and $5.25 M in 2020. He will get $7.25 M in 2021, which would have been his last season before free agency. The deal also includes a $2 M signing bonus and numerous incentives based on his finish for the Reliever of the Year award and whether or not he makes All-Star appearances. The two club options at valued at $10 M each year and come with a total of $1.5 M in buyouts. The minimum value of the deal is $22 M for Rivero, but he could make more than double that if both options are picked up and he reaches some of his incentives.

Rivero will speak to the local media today via conference call.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Jack S

It’s a shame that the only players that the pirates sign are carriibean. If it wasn’t for the Dominican ballplayers we would have a $110mil payroll. The problem is they accept the money and don’t perform. Who needs a closer when you won’t get to the 9th inning. By July 31, the pirates will have a $60mil payroll. If it is true that Huntington was able to trade or sign Mccutcheon we know that Huntington is culpable

Randy W



huntington certainly has his negatives, but he does get some nice team friendly contracts most of the time


For his flaws, he’s been pretty adept at identifying and acting on opportunities to sign players to contracts which favor the team before a player either breaks out or establishes a long enough track record to become really expensive.


This really is a remarkably good deal for the Pirates. Incredibly low amount of risk involved.

Not only is each year’s salary lower than what he’d get in arb if he maintains even close to this type of production, the two stupid-cheap *team* options at the end spread out any potential risk from serious arm injury.

With this amount of control at such low prices he could blow out his elbow, spend a year rehabbing, and still provide massive value as long as he’s not one of the ~15% of pitchers who don’t bounce back from TJS.


And I’m sure with the physical he just passed, the Pirates spent some money to buy contract insurance for the back half incase he needs TJS there probably was a maneuver for taking some risk off the table.

Come to think of it – Tim is this something to ask the Pirates about how they think about contract insurance on some of these types of deals (J-hay, Polanco, now this) ?

Randy W

Damn, you just made me feel even better about this deal!


Might be the best contract for any reliever in the game.


can anyone on the call speak to the veracity of this tweet?



For “potentially” the next 6 seasons. Fekker, just say you are trading him in 3-4 years.
He should have went year to year, I understand that he is financially set for life now, but seeing over the last week how the Pirates treat guys on long term, team friendly deals, its not a good move. He left so much money on the table, it is a shame.
Mark this day on your calendar, I hate team friendly deals, players should get every penny they can every chance they get. It should not even be a negotiation, if a team wants to lock a player up early, the player should take full value on a deal, not meet at some preconceived midpoint.


Remember that you don’t know what his elbow feels like. He does. Guys who throw 100 MPH put tremendous strain on their ligaments. Getting a contract guarantee regardless of injury (or wildness returning for that matter) could be a smart move by Rivero.


It’s not “some preconceived midpoint,” it’s a young player looking to guarantee themselves millions of dollars. Of course it’s possible the player could do better going year to year until they hit free agency, but a lot can go wrong, too. Look at Polanco, or even Harrison. Rivero MAY have left money on the table when it’s all said and done. But we don’t know that for sure, and neither does he, especially considering he’s a member of the most volatile class of baseball player, and anyone who tries to claim otherwise has no idea what they’re talking about.

And I’d love to hear more about how the players the Pirates sign to these kinds of deals are “treated.”


I was not referring to the Pirates in general, but baseball as a whole.

If I were a baseball player, I would bet on myself 100% of the time. If I were in my first year of arb, and I filed at 2.75 mil, I would let the arbitration panel tell me that isn’t what I deserved, I would not settle for $2.5 mil because the team was willing to sign me to a longer deal. Never would I do that.

Now, as to how that fits with the Pirates, they do this with zero intentions of keeping the player to the end of the deal.


Liriano and Cervelli are other extensions that proved to be better for the players than the team.s


Why did Pittsbugh trade for this guy? No control. Lousy MLB stats. A definite salary dump. MM should have been resigned for 4 years and 60 million. His health and record merited this. The Pirates would have probably won the World Series this past year if MM was kept and resigned. And if…..and it would never happen….if this Rivera guy ever does do well with the Pirates, they will be too cheap to sign him to a long term contract.


Great take terry.

Brian Z

I’ll take “things yinzer fans said” for $100 Alex


What a Nightmare!

For other teams’ hitters.


Will he anchor a 12 man RP staff for Pirates?? Trendsetter those Pittsburgh Pirates…


I would guess that this deal has to be one of if not the most team friendly deals ever.

Bill W

He will be gone in 2019!


If he can reproduce last years numbers I believe it is realistic he could be gone by the trade deadline 2018. The pirates are extremely good at striking while the iron is hot. ; -).


It is a great deal. Neal is hoping this will eventually be his Aroldis Chapman deal when he trades him in 2019/2020. Don’t blame him. Bullpen deals are the only thing he has shown a real proclivity for.
I like the idea of building a tough bullpen to go with our young starters. If they can shorten the game to 6 innings, it’d benefit the SPs a great deal.
Maybe we could have multiple GMs. NH can be the bullpen GM. Then get a position player GM, a bench GM, and a SP GM.


Does that not seem strange to you that the only part of the game that is not controlled by Hurdle is the one shining spot for the Pirates – Pitching.


Great move!

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