According to reports, the Pittsburgh Pirates have extended LHP Felipe Rivero‘s contract
After striking a divisive blow to their fanbase, the Pittsburgh Pirates followed up the news of an Andrew McCutchen trade by signing their hard-throwing closer, Felipe Rivero, to a contract extension. This as per the very busy Ken Rosenthal:
Sources: #Pirates signing LH closer Felipe Rivero to four-year contract with two club options. Guarantee believed to be about $22M, with each club option $10M. Deal will cover all four arb years and potentially two FA years. Not clear if an agency was involved in negotiations.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 15, 2018
When Rivero was not one of the Pittsburgh Pirates to settle on a contract before going to salary arbitration, many speculated an extension might be in the works. It turns out they were right.
Rivero turned heads immediately upon his arrival in Pittsburgh in 2016 as part of the Mark Melancon trade. However, it was during his 2017 season that Rivero truly cemented his place as one of the most exciting relievers in the game.
Exploding for a 2.1 fWAR season, Rivero struck out 10.51 K/9, which incredibly is not even his career high (that would be his 10.75 rating in 2016). Rivero performed admirably when taking over Tony Watson‘s role as closer, and looked every bit as durable as his combined 148 appearances over the past two years would indicate.
The Pittsburgh Pirates gain cost certainty with this deal, and also could conceivably lock Rivero up after his four arb years at great value. We have seen closer salaries in arbitration and free agency continue to climb throughout the past three-four years, and two club options at $10 milion could end up as a bargain.
The move also cements the Pirates’ move towards loading up their bullpen with strikeout ability. With the additions of George Kontos, Jack Leathersich Michael Feliz and others, the Pittsburgh Pirates are clearly looking to miss more bats with their relief arms.
Pirates Breakdown will have more analysis on this move in the coming days.