One of the most painful moments of the 2015 Braves season was watching Jason Grilli go down in a road contest with the Colorado Rockies. He appeared to be in excruciating pain and it was later revealed that he had ruptured his Achilles tendon. Though 38-years of age at the time, Grilli vowed to rehab from his injury and return to the diamond for the 2016 season.
Grilli is back, but he’s certainly not in form. He still has flashes of strikeout stuff, but he looks uncomfortable on the mound as he has struggled to find his control early in the season. It’s only mid-May, but hitters are hitting roughly .300 off him and he has given up 9 earned runs in 11.2 innings of work. Through 15 appearances, he has a 6.94 ERA. Grilli has been a liability for manager Fredi Gonzalez this year. Meanwhile, youngster Arodys Vizcaino has taken over his closer role as he continues to dominate when given the opportunity.
Many thought Grilli would be used as a trade asset at last year’s deadline before going down. With that being said, many thought the same about A.J. Pierzynski. Both of these guys have deteriorated their value with their poor performances in 2016 (probably because they are both about to be on the wrong side of 40).
The “Grilled Cheese” is a fan favorite, and will likely stick around so the team can rebuild his value by the time the trade deadline moves around. But coming off a major injury at his age and his poor performance thus far has to have fans raising the question: “Is Grilli done?” Hopefully he can regain to form to become an effective setup man for Vizcaino as the pieces of the puzzle for the pitching staff continue to fall into place. Grilli has time to settle in and return to form, but it will be more beneficial for the rebuilding club if he does so sooner than later… if at all.