Pirates GM Neal Huntington spoke to the media concerning the trade of Jason Grilli to the Angels in exchange for RHP Ernesto Frieri.
On making the trade: “It’s one of those change of scenery deals that both clubs are looking at guys they liked in the past that are currently struggling and felt they were the right move for their club and we certainly appreciate everything Jason has done not only on the field but in the clubhouse and in the community and the human part of it makes it really hard.”
On trading for Frieri: “Ernesto is a guy we’ve pursued for the past couple of years and haven’t been able to get him. He’s going through a rough stretch right now but there are things there that we like, our scouts like, our analysts like. We feel like we’ve had some success with guys like this in the past with the change of leagues, change of scenery and we think he’s going to come in and do a nice job for us.”
On Grilli’s reaction to trade: “He’s ready for a new challenge. Jason has responded really well to a series of challenges in his life. He’s had a good run here. I think he has a lot of close friends here. He loves the city, he loves the team, but I think he’s ready for a new challenge and he’s got a group of guys that love him and it’s always unsettling. The business part of this job is tough, the business part of this environment is tough, but we do make these decisions because we think it will have a positive impact moving forward.”
On what threw Jason Grilli off from last year’s success: ”The oblique strain kind of threw him off-track. He got away from being as aggressive as he was before the injury when he’s been so successful here he pitched as if he had nothing to lose and just wasn’t quite as sharp. A few mistakes got hit hard, a few things that went his way in the past didn’t go his way and again, it has the chance to be a classic change-of-scenery guy we feel with every expectation in the world. We’re going to look up in September and October and Jason’s going to have had a nice run with the Angels and Ernesto is going to have had a nice run with us.”
On why the team chose to trade for Frieri: “He’s a guy that’s had success as a closer at the big league level that has quality stuff, that has a good strikeout rate. Not the groundball guy that we typically look to acquire, but he gets soft contact and there are indicators there that he can continue to do that and we believe we can get him back on the right track.”
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