Should the Angels re-sign reliever Jason Grilli?
Continuing with the offseason outlook for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the bullpen is a spot that was really bad in the first half of the season, but really held the club together in the second half. One piece that came over that helped solidify the ‘pen to some degree was Jason Grilli. Grilli began the year in Pittsburgh, but came over to Los Angeles in a trade that sent Ernesto Frieri to the Pirates.
The question is, do you spend money are a guy like Grilli or do you use the money you save not signing him to sign a starting pitcher that is much needed. I’m leaning towards the side where you let Grilli go. Yes, he was pretty good with the Angels, only allowing a run in nine of his 40 appearances, but when things went wrong, they went wrong really quickly. Twice he allowed three or more runs in an outing, and four of twelve inherited runners scored. Is that great enough to sign him back when he will be 38 in November? I’m going with a no again.
Looking at the bullpen depth, a player that jumps off the lineup card is Vinnie Pestano. Pestano joined the Angels from the Indians organization in August. He pitched off and on in Cleveland, but most of his innings came at Triple-A Columbus before coming to Los Angeles. Once he got to LA, he was fantastic. In a very small sample, he only allowed one run in 12 outings, equally nine and one-third innings pitched. He is a viable option to replace Grilli in that part of the bullpen full time in 2015.
Pestano has the ability to pitch in the 6,7, or 8 innings. Add that to Joe Smith being the set up man for Huston Street and having Kevin Jepsen and Fernando Salas who can also give you much needed outs and Grilli is the odd man out in the bullpen.
Pestano, Salas and Jepsen are all arbitration eligible and should all be resigned before they get to an arbitrator. Grilli won’t have that protecting him as he is an unrestricted free agent. He will be free to sign with any team he wishes once the World Series ends and I don’t expect that to be back with the Los Angeles Angels. General Manager Jerry Dipoto should use that money saved by not re-signing Grilli and use it in an arbitration-type trade, like the one last winter, trading Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos to get two starters in Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. I would much rather see the team go in that direction, than sign a 38-year old to be reliever.