The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Angels swapped late-inning relievers on Friday, with Jason Grilli going to the Angels and Ernesto Frieri to the Pirates.
The 37-year-old Grilli lost the closer's job with the Pirates to Mark Melancon this season after posting an 0-2 record with 11 saves, four blown chances and a 4.87 ERA in 20 1/3 innings. Grilli, a National League All-Star last year, missed a month of this season with a strained left oblique before returning May 23.
"We are appreciative of all that Jason has done for the Pirates and in our community," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "We believe that adding Ernesto Frieri was a good move for our bullpen. He has been an effective late-inning reliever who, despite his struggles to date this season, has solid indicators that cause us to believe he will be a quality addition to our bullpen this season and potentially beyond."
Frieri also was replaced this year as the Angels' closer by Joe Smith. The 28-year-old right-hander has an 0-3 record with 11 saves, three holds, three blown opportunities and a 6.39 ERA in 31 innings this season.
"Obviously, we're trying to get a bullpen with some chemistry and upgrade it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "and 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."
Both teams hope the relievers can recapture their stuff with new teams. Grilli was coming off a 33-save season in 2013 and Frieri had a career-best 37 saves last year.
"Ernesto is a guy we've pursued for a couple of years but haven't been about to get," Huntington said. "He's going through a rough stretch, but he's doing things our scouts like and our (statistical) analysts like. We've had success bringing guys in and having them benefit from a change of scenery, a change of league."