Trade season is upon us. The Angels have announced that they traded reliever Ernesto Frieri to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Jason Grilli in a one-for-one swap.
This move is a very interesting one, as it serves as a change of scenery for two previously-effective right-handers who have lost their closer roles this season. Both have seen their ERAs balloon this season after being excellent over the last few years, so it appears that the teams hope that a new location for each will help them get back into form.
Frieri, 28, is 0-3 with a 6.39 ERA in 34 appearances this season for the Halos. He has been in and out of the team's closer role for the entire season, notching 11 saves while the team has debated on how to use him in response the emergence of free agent pickup Joe Smith as a late-inning option.
It is currently unclear whether the Pirates intend to use Frieri or Mark Melancon as their primary closer. The team recently decided to move Grilli out of the closer's role, so it appears that Frieri is the likely candidate to take over. Frieri started his career in the National League with the Padres, notching a 2.33 ERA in 105 appearances over three and a half seasons.
Grilli, 37, recently relinquished his role as closer after pitching to a 4.87 ERA in 22 appearances. The 2013 NL All-Star is a free agent after the season and was said to be open to an extension with the Pirates, but will now head to Anaheim and likely will be named closer immediately.
The Angels have been known to be on the lookout for left-handed relief help, and rumors began to swirl within the last week that they could add a late-inning piece. Interestingly, they gave up a soon-to-be 29-year old who is under team control for 2.5 season for a 37-year old who is a free agent after the season, showing that they are committed to making a run this season.