Jason Grilli was traded to the Rockies for minor league pitcher Zachary Simons today. The much maligned Grilli had a 3.29 ERA in 13 2/3 innings pitched this year and had not allowed a run in his last 11 1/3 innings over six appearances. However, the inconsistent right-hander was traded to make room for Francisco Cruceta who was throwing really well in Toledo after missing spring training with visa problems. Cruceta had 15 strikeouts and had allowed one run in 7 innings so far.
I occasionally referred to Grilli as "fan favorite" here because he was bashed pretty soundly by online fans and booed loudly by Comerica Park fans. He wasn't great - a 4.31 ERA in 120 games as a Tiger since 2005 - but I never felt he was as bad as many made him out to be. I think one problem was that Jim Leyland used him too much at times as he led Tigers relief pitchers with 79 2/3 innings pitched last year. I also think fans never forgave him for walking three batters on 12 consecutive balls in game four of the 2006 ALCS. He now gets a fresh start with the Rockies.
The 22 year old Simon was converted from starter to reliever last year and posted a 4.46 ERA and 46/31 K/BB ratio in 70 1/3 innings for Asheville of the Sally League. This year, the 6-3 200 pound right-hander had a 14/9 k/BB ratio in 13 1/3 innings for Modesto of the California League. As you can see, he's a strikes outs a lot of batters and walks a lot too. He'll probably start out in the Tigers system pitching for Lakeland.