Life’s still the Pitts(burgh) for Felipe Rivero…
The 26-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher, a hard-throwing left-hander, has agreed to a $22 million, four-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Rivero’s deal includes two club options and could be worth $41 million over six seasons.
Acquired in a trade deadline deal with the Washington Nationals in 2016, he receives a $2 million signing bonus and agreed to a deal that covers his arbitration-eligible years, giving him peace of mind.
“I want to be relaxed the next few years and not have arbitration cases,” Rivero said. “I just want to help the team as much as I can right now.”
Rivero took over as Pittsburgh’s closer last May and went 5-3 with a 1.67 ERA while converting 21 of 23 save opportunities and striking out 88 batters in 75⅓ innings. Rivero let his sister work in concert with his agent during negotiations, adamant he wanted to remain with the Pirates.
“When I got traded they … tried to make you feel like you’re at home,” Rivero said. “That’s why I wanted to stay for a few more years.”
General manager Neal Huntington said the team was “humbled” by Rivero’s decision, adding the cost certainty of the deal means the Pirates can move forward with confidence knowing one of the few bright spots from a mostly forgettable 2017 is in place through the end of this decade and the beginning of the next.
“It frees him up to just go pitch, frees him up to just go do his thing,” Huntington said. “He doesn’t have to worry about a lot of the things that players worry about.”
Rivero will make $2.5 million this season, $4 million in 2019, $5.25 million in 2020 and $7.25 million in 2021. The Pirates have a $10 million option for 2022 with a $1 million buyout and a $10 million option for 2023 with a $500,000 buyout.