Exclusive- Jason Grilli reacts to being traded to the Texas Rangers
What a difference five days can make.
On Tuesday, Baldwinsville native Jason Grilli was designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays ending his time in the majors for that club.
Today, instead of becoming a free agent or accepting an assignment, Grilli was traded to a favorable situation.
Jason was traded to the Texas Rangers for 22-year old prospect Eduard Pinto. The deal was first reported by ESPN and confirmed by CNY Central.
Only on CNY Central, I talked to Jason on the phone Sunday night.
"A big relief, it's never fun when the game's going on without you" Grilli tells me on his reaction to the trade.
"I had a great time, loved every second in Toronto, was upset that road ended and for me as a reliever I've always come up knowing the love and respect I've gotten at the places I've gone that needed my services, I'm excited to be in Texas" he adds.
The move appears like a win-win for both Grilli and the Rangers with Texas in desperate need of bullpen help with 16 blown saves and Grilli looking to prove he can still be the excellent reliever he was just a year ago.
After a great season last year, helping Toronto to the playoffs, this year his ERA jumped from 3.64 to almost 7 this year. Perhaps a change in scenery will help the Central New Yorker out of that slump.
"My feeling here with the inconsistencies with the Blue Jays this year, for me, was more just touch and feel. We got off to a bad start as a team but I know my stuff is still there. Just have to get more reps. I know it's in there, otherwise if I didn't think it was there I'd be taking a different course of action. Just touching the ball, getting the feel, knowing my role and not having to wait 4, 6, 10 days to touch the ball like I was the first half of the year, you know, that's problematic for anybody" Jason says.
Grilli should be able to join the Rangers at the start of the work week for their next series in Arlington, against the Chicago White Sox.
Of course, plenty of eyes in Central New York will be on that matchup, whenever Grilli gets his first call in a Rangers uniform.
Jason is well-aware of the CNY support, and is always gracious that it's in his corner.
"It just inspires you. It doesn't matter where you're from, even with all the snow and cold weather we battle up there (in Syracuse) those kids can make it, you just have to work really hard at it. To quote the great (UFC fighter/boxer) Conor McGregor "To beat me you're going to have to outwork me" because nobody's going to outwork him. Talent only gets you so far, I don't know that I was always the best, I think I just always wanted to be the best. Just continue to work hard at it. Starting this at 20 and now I'm 40 I've been doing this 20 years. You know the ups and downs, the goods and the bads, to understand the victories" he says.
"A lot of people only see the success and they don't see the pain behind all the success and how you get there. I've had plenty of it, and my message is this: Don't give up. I've never quit, I've always stayed in the fight and that's the reason I'm still here today. To be able to do that with the Texas Rangers, thinking enough of me with my personality and my resume I'm very humbled I have a chance to go in there and help them get into playoff position and help these guys out the best I can" Grilli concludes.
Indeed his best has garnered the admiration of thousands of fans across the country, and there will always be a group of them as die-hard fans right here in Central New York.