SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Former Seton Hall University pitcher Jason Grilli is heading out West.
The Pittsburgh Pirates dealt Grilli to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday in exchange for another reliever, the Halos’ Ernesto Frieri. Each had strong seasons in 2013 but fell out of favor with their respective clubs this year.
Grilli was an All-Star last year, recording 33 saves while sporting a 2.70 ERA for Pittsburgh in his first season as a closer.
This season, however, has not been so kind to the Seton Hall alum. Following a stint on the disabled list and four blown saves, Grilli was removed from the closer’s role by manager Clint Hurdle. The 37-year-old has a 4.87 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched as he makes his way to the Angeles. Mark Melancon will take over at the end of games for the Pirates with Tony Watson getting an occasional save opportunity.
"Obviously we're trying to get a bullpen with some chemistry and upgrade it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, according to ESPN. “I think Jason Grilli is a guy who can hopefully come in and fill a role, and if he pitches as well as he did last year he could be really important to us."
The Angels, who are 44-34 and in second place in the American League West, need to solidify their pen if they want to be serious contenders. Los Angels’ relief corps is 26th in the majors in ERA (4.12), 25th in walks per nine innings (3.94) and 25th in fielder independent pitching (3.90).
With no true closer, Grilli should have a chance to finish ballgames for the Angels. Joe Smith has seven saves this year but has not been consistent.
Grilli pitched for Seton Hall between 1995 and 1997. He went 19-11 with a 3.58 ERA for the Pirates. He was named to the Freshman First All-American team in 1995 and was a Big East Conference All-Star in 1997. He was drafted fourth overall by the San Francisco Giants in the 1997 Major League Baseball Draft.
Grilli has spent time with the Marlins, White Sox, Tigers, Rockies and Rangers in his 12-year career as well.
He is expected to arrive in Kansas City on Saturday, where the Angels will take on the Royals.
Gary Phillips can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GPhillips2727. For complete coverage of Seton Hall athletics, follow @setoniansports.