Jason Grilli's signing was officially announced Wednesday afternoon by the Pirates, who had made retaining the key setup reliever an offseason priority. Grilli, 36, agreed on Monday to a two-year contract for $6.75 million. According to MLB sources, the deal includes a signing bonus of $500,000 and salaries of $2.25 million in 2013 and $4 million in '14. He was believed to have also had two-year offers from the Cubs and Blue Jays, at least one of them for a higher salary than he chose to remain in Pittsburgh.
Grilli had launched and set the tone for his impressive 2012 season with strikeouts in each of his first 19 appearances, which set a record for Pittsburgh relievers. He wound up with 90 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings, his rate of 13.8 per nine innings ranking fourth among National League relievers. Grilli limited batters to a .207 average. Overall, Grilli went 1-6 with two saves and a 2.91 ERA in 2012, and he was also credited with 32 holds. While the Pirates finished the season with an overall record of 79-83, they were 44-20 in Grilli's 64 appearances. Once again cast as the primary eighth-inning guy, Grilli is also in position to graduate to the closer's role in the event Joel Hanrahan is traded, something Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has been exploring.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.