One of the hot button issues facing the Pirates during the 2017 season was the usage of star relief pitcher Felipe Rivero.

Rivero, acquired from the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline for Mark Melancon in 2016, answer the 2017 season as one of several options to set up then-closer Tony Watson.

As the season got going, it became abundantly clear that not only was Rivero the most attractive option as a set up man, he was likely the Pirates’ most talented relief pitcher overall.

It wasn’t until early June that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle decided to pull the plug on Watson and let Rivero close games.

On many levels, the move was a warranted one, as Watson’s numbers continued a year and a half long slide, while Rivero established himself as one of the majors’ most dominant ...

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