The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the thick of a race for the National League Central, but the bullpen could be the deciding factor on whether the Buccos repeat last season’s magic or not.
Repeating last season’s performance will be difficult for Pittsburgh, especially with four teams being in on the race this year, but if they strengthen a sometimes shaky “Shark Tank” they stand a legit shot at the post season. Last year the closer’s role was one of the team’s strengths, but with the loss of Jason Grilli, the back end of the bullpen has some question marks.
Ernesto Frieri came over from the Anaheim Angels in the Grilli deal, but he continues to struggle. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson have been solid but the Pirates are lacking an arm to fulfill a successful playoff run.
According to CBS Sports Jon Heyman, “The Pirates are said to be among other teams to check in on Street, with the Orioles and Giants mentioned in a speculative sense as possibilities. Both those teams seem more focused on starting pitchers, however.”
Street has been the rock of the Padres bullpen this season with his 1.09 ERA, 0.758 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 33 innings. The right-hander has saved 24-of-25 games this season.
Street isn’t just a one season wonder. He has always been consistent, saving 258 games over nine years in the majors.
Street could be the piece Pittsburgh needs to make their post season push. With Street as the closer, Melancon as the setup man, and Tony Watson back as the seventh inning guy, the Pirates chances of holding onto leads increase.
Pittsburgh isn’t the only team chasing the Friars closer. The Anaheim Angels are very interested in Street.
Other options the Pirates are looking at are several players with the Boston Red Sox. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune noted that the Buccos had a scout in Boston watching Andrew Miller and starter Felix Doubront. Neither Miller nor Doubront will fix the back end of the bullpen but they would help solidify it.
Look for the Pirates to pursue one of these arms or maybe even another as the deadline quickly approaches.