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Ernesto Frieri Designated for Assignment

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

As John Greenleaf Whittier once put it, "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been.'" The Jason Grilli for Ernesto Frieri trade certainly seemed like a good idea at the time, but the results have been decidedly sub-optimal, and a team that's trying to contend can only carry a pitcher with a four-digit ERA for so long. There are still reasons to think that Frieri might be able to turn things around, but if he does, it will probably be in someone else's uniform, as the Pirates designated him for assignment today. His spot on the 25-man roster will go to Pedro Alvarez, something of a reclamation project himself at this point, who was due to come off the bereavement list.

The transaction leaves the Pirates with a retro six-man bullpen, so another move to add a replacement reliever may be forthcoming in the next few days, be it an external acquisition or a promotion of an internal option. In the mid-term, I might expect the spot to be filled by whichever pitcher loses his role in the starting rotation once Gerrit Cole finishes his rehab assignment, but until then a short-term callup for Brandon Cumpton or Wirfin Obispo might make sense, to keep the team from playing short-handed.

Either way, good luck to Frieri in whatever he ends up doing next. The way things have gone for him lately, it seems like he might need it.