January 2, 2013
The Keeper Reaper
Relievers for 1/2/13
Jason Grilli | Pirates
So much has happened since our last installment of Keeper Reaper: Relievers. Christmas and New Year’s came and went. The fiscal cliff was (sort of) avoided. And, of equal importance to all of that, the Pirates traded their closer and named a new one.
Jason Grilli, successor to the departed Joel Hanrahan, figures to be a widely discussed fantasy tout among the hardcore set this spring in regard to whether he’s for real. In mid-2011, the Pirates salvaged the then-journeyman from the obscurity of the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate in a move that few noticed and fewer still cared about. Since then, though, he’s established himself as a viable reliever and, for our purposes, managed to claim his place in the exclusive Closers Club.
The question isn’t really whether Grilli should be owned; he should be. In fact, I plan to target him as a late-round sleeper in my drafts this spring. But he’s pretty much a quintessential low-investment, high-reward closer, the kind whom you should keep tabs on but not invest in too heavily. In his season-and-a-half as a Pirate, Grilli’s peripherals have been markedly better than they were during his days as an unremarkable big-league reliever. There’s also reason to think the Bucs will give him plenty of leash, considering they signed him to a two-year contract shortly before dealing Hanrahan. His deal probably wouldn’t make a demotion altogether intolerable, though, even for the Pirates, and considering his relative lack of track record, age, and recent injury trouble, there are enough red flags here for owners to err on the side of caution. Don’t be afraid to like Jason Grilli. Just don’t like him too much.
Joel Hanrahan | Red Sox
Meanwhile, Hanrahan has changed teams but not roles, as the Red Sox tabbed the right-hander as their closer upon acquiring him from Pittsburgh.