Yankees Rumors: Is Jason Grilli A Viable Yankees´Option?


When Jason Grilli finished with 33 saves and an ERA of 2.70 in 2013 for the Pirates, it looked as if he was on his way to becoming one of the top closers in Major League Baseball. So should the Yankees make a run at plucking him from the  free agant market? 

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Let’s take a close look. In 2014, his overall ERA jumped to 4.00. For a reliever in an era of dominant pitching and increasing bullpen reliance, that is not overly impressive. To be a significant addition to the Yankees ‘pen, he would have to return to his 2.70 performance or at least get it down to around 3.00.

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That is because the Yankees bullpen is going to be crowded next season, assuming that David Robertson returns. Grilli’s 21 walks in 54 innings also suggests that he may have struggled with control at times. Could this have been due to the uncertainty that comes with free agency? If so, his inability to handle pressure long term is not a good sign that he will produce under the spotlight of New York, even if he had a good three-year run.

And if Robertson does not stay, it will be even more important for the Yankees to add someone who can handle the pressure right away. Of course, Dellin Betances would likely move to closer. So Grilli would not necessarily be replacing Robertson. He could compete for the set up role, however. But that would not make his task any easier because replacing Betances is as difficult, or even more difficult, as replacing Robertson.

The Yankees bullpen may be even more crowded if off-season moves make it necessary to take Ivan Nova, for example, out of the rotation. That would make the gamble of signing Grilli even less appealing. And don’t forget, as he heads into his late 30’s his best days could be behind him.

So despite the long-standing baseball philosophy that you can never have enough pitching, the Yankees should pass on Jason Grilli. They would be better served saving the dollars to spend elsewhere.