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Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to 4-year extension

After trading their ace and their most accomplished position player, the Pirates gave their closer an extension.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have signed closer Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The deal, which includes $22.5 million in guaranteed money, will keep Rivero under control through at least 2021, buying out all four of his arbitration years. It also includes $10 million club options for 2022 and 2023.

The timing of the announcement wasn’t exactly great for the Pirates, as the deal was reported just a couple of hours after the news came out about Pittsburgh dealing franchise icon Andrew McCutchen to the Giants. It also comes just a couple of days after the Pirates dealt staff ace Gerrit Cole to Houston. With both veterans gone, Pittsburgh is likely to enter into a multi-year rebuilding process, so Rivero may not get too many save opportunities for the foreseeable future.

With all that said, Rivero established himself as one of the majors’ most dominant relievers in 2017, so it makes sense for Pittsburgh to lock him up long-term at an affordable rate. In his second full big-league season, the 26-year-old lefty posted a 1.67 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP with 88 strikeouts and just 20 walks in 75.1 innings. He collected 21 saves in 23 opportunities, and he averaged 98.3 mph on his fastball.