Grilli to re-sign with Pirates

Plenty of rumors started flying around last Wednesday morning when these tweets surfaced:

Pirates.com beat writer Tom Singer made a lot of people think that “headed here” meant signing with Pittsburgh. However, Grilli had yet to make a decision, but his market was certainly heating up. Around ten teams were said to be chasing the veteran reliever.

More shenanigans ensued on Thursday, as Grilli was rumored to have his list down to four teams (Pirates, Cubs, Giants, Blue Jays) and that he’d be choosing by 10:00 am. But that deadline passed and all was quiet until there were rumblings that he’d be returning to the ‘Burgh. Grilli then denied those claims, saying “I have not made a decision. I don’t know where all these reports are coming from, bit it’s not helping me one bit.”

However, news broke shortly before 4:00 pm on Monday afternoon that he’ll be returning to Pittsburgh in 2013.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that Grilli turned down extra cash:

Grilli, who turned 36 last month, posted a 2.91 ERA last season in 64 appearances. He was impressive in the setup role throughout the year, until he stumbled a bit down the stretch. He had a 7.27 ERA and opponents hit .324 against him in his last 10 games. To his defense, the entire team had an abysmal last month of the season, so he’s certainly not the scapegoat.

The deal is for two years and worth $7 million. Many teams wanted to sign Grilli to become their new closer. Obviously, Joel Hanrahan is still on the roster and headed for arbitration. He’s due for a huge raise though; it doesn’t make much sense to keep two high-paid hurlers in the bullpen on a small market team like the Pirates, especially when they still have other needs to address. The Hammer, who’s already been the subject of trade talks this offseason, could be dealt sooner rather than later.

Some Jason Grilli highlights, courtesy of Drew Brown (@_DrewBrown on Twitter):

Go Bucs

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#134PiratesTrivia Answer 6/18/12

Tonight we asked…

and the answer to tonight’s #134PiratesTrivia is…

Ryan Doumit

Doumit, who played seven seasons in Pittsburgh from 2005-2011, hit 67 long balls with the Bucs, 41 of which came at PNC Park. His 41 long balls lands him fourth on the PNC home run list. Here are the top five:
1. Jason Bay, 61
2. Craig Wilson, 47
3. Brian Giles, 45
4. Ryan Doumit, 41
5. Aramis Ramirez, 40

He also ranks fifth in hits with 288 and fourth in RBI with 155. “Dewey” will play at PNC for the first time as a visitor when his Minnesota Twins come to town this week. Minnesota only visits once every few years, so he won’t have many more opportunities to crack the top three. Doumit has six bombs and 30 runs batted in this season for the Twins. One of the funniest Pirate moments from the past few years was when Doumit nailed John Grabow with a throw back in 2008:

His old walk-up music – “Mother” by Danzig:

Congratulations to tonight’s winners: @ds_33, @WheresmyWookie, @IAmMattMcClure, @milchm86, @Ned_Flanderz, @tarbetto, @BuccoMike, @yattack, @ACthepoolguy, @Wilder_Childer, @jay_stint, @DruBrownESPN, @mzivic04, @Aaronkranderson, and @BurgFaninNJ.

Thanks to all who participated, and tune in next time for another edition of #134PiratesTrivia.

Go Bucs

#134PiratesTrivia Answer 6/11/12

Tonight we asked…

and the answer to tonight’s #134PiratesTrivia is…

Brian Meadows

The Pirates, who played the Orioles in the 1971 and 1979 World Series, were looking to beat the O’s for the first time in a regular season game on June 7th, 2005. The Bucs were down 5-2 late in the game, but Daryle Ward hit a 3-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game. Jack Wilson came to the plate three batters later and gave the Pirates the lead with a solo shot. Jose Mesa came in for the save, and Pittsburgh won 6-5 in front of 21,422 at PNC Park. Brian Meadows was credited with the win as he pitched a scoreless top of the eighth.

The Pirates starting lineup from that night:
1. Matt Lawton, RF
2. Ryan Doumit, C
3. Rob Mackowiak, 3B
4. Jason Bay, LF
5. Daryle Ward, 1B
6. Jose Castillo, 2B
7. Tike Redman, CF
8. Jack Wilson, SS
9. Dave Williams, P

Congratulations to tonight’s winners: @Sangys_BBQ, @BurgFaninNJ, @LeandraAllen, and @LukeBumbico.

Thanks to all who participated, and tune in next time for another edition of #134PiratesTrivia.

Go Bucs

First Place: More Than a Statistic

As you know by now, the Pittsburgh Pirates have tied the Cincinnati Reds for first place in the NL Central. However, it means so much more than being on top of the standings. For such a long time, this is what we’ve been waiting for.

We’ve never seen a winning season in our lifetimes. We battled through long seasons, empty stadiums, and horrible players through the early-2000s, not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. Derek Bell going into “operation shutdown”. Lloyd McClendon stealing first. Randall Simon nailing a sausage in Milwaukee. The list of “forgettable Pirates”, such as Tike Redman, Brian Meadows, and Humberto Cota, goes on and on. There were just a few notable players throughout the mid-2000s, like Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, and Jack Wilson. However, we were heart-broken as they were traded away in a “rebuilding process”, which resulted in the horrible teams of 2009 and 2010. We were accustomed to losing.

Last year’s team brought something new to the table: winning. July of 2011 was a time we’ll never forget; it was the first time we saw our Bucs with a winning record halfway through the season and a chase to first place. Although it all fell apart and resulted in a 72-90 finish, it was still an awesome season that left the Bucco faithful with a lot of hope for 2012.

This season started a little slow, but the tough April schedule faded away in May, and the Pirates have been on a roll into June. They’ve won 12 of their last 15, and of course have taken the top spot. The pitching staff is insane and the offense is coming around. First place came a year early this year, and it feels like it could stick around for a little longer.

Obviously nothing has been clinched yet. Another collapse could be in store for all we know. A winning season is nowhere close to being a lock. Still, it’s good to have fun now because this is what we’ve waited for. In our post “Why Are We Pirates Fans?” from February, we wrote the following:
“Pirate fans live for a Neil Walker game winning hit, or a Joel Hanrahan K to secure a big win. And THAT’S why we continue to support this team. We live for moments like Pedro Alvarez, Cutch, Brian Giles, and Rob Mackowiak blasting walkoff homers, Ryan Doumit drilling John Grabow on a throw to second, and Jeff Karstens beaning Ryan Braun to start a fight with the hated Brewers. “

We’ve supported this team for so long, and it feels great to be on top, even if it’s only for a few nights. Twitter erupted when the Tigers won on Sunday night, which moved the Reds into a tie with the Bucs. Our timeline was going insane with Bucco tweets, and #FirstPlaceBucs was trending worldwide.

Sure the Pirates could lose the division lead this week and never get it back. It’s only June, but a lot of excitement is building up. This is some of the best baseball that we’ve seen played in Pittsburgh and it’s a great time to be a Bucco fan. So let us have our glory; the Pirates are in first place.

Go Bucs

#134PiratesTrivia Answer 5/31/12

Tonight we asked…

…and the answer to tonight’s #134PiratesTrivia is…

Willie “Pops” Stargell

Stargell had a total of 75 sacrifice flies in his 21 seasons as Pirate.  Pops is also the leader in many other offensive categories, including home runs (475), RBIs (1540), and intentional walks (227).  The hall of famer is one of the most popular players in Pirates history, and was a key part of two World Series champion teams, including the “Family” in 1979.

Pirates sac-fly leaders:
Willie Stargell – 75
Bill Mazeroski – 70
Roberto Clemente – 66
Al Oliver – 62
Andy Van Slyke – 50

Stats from FanGraphs.com

Congratulations to tonight’s winners: @AJBurghnett, @cocktailsfor2, @Ned_Flanderz, and @BurgFaninNJ.

A few people guessed Bobby Bonilla, who had 47 sacrifice flies with the Pirates, and holds the franchise single season record.

Thanks to all who participated, and tune in next time for another edition of #134PiratesTrivia.

Go Bucs