Rivero, who will turn 26 this summer, can’t qualify for free agency until 2022. But he entered the season with 1.162 days of service, so he’s nearly certain to qualify for arbitration at year’s end as a Super Two player.
The Bucs will end up paying Rivero at a healthy rate, as he’s currently carrying an outstanding 0.73 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 over 24 2/3 innings. That payday could increase qutie a bit more if Rivero ends up ascending to the team’s closer role — as has been speculated as a strong possibility if the team deals incumbent ninth-inning man Tony Watson at the deadline.
Pittsburgh has to like what it has seen thus far. The club acquired him when it shopped closer Mark Melancon last summer, making a calculated gamble that the young southpaw would continue to progress and make good on his obvious talent. Taking a major-league reliever also meant foregoing the possibility of a prospect-driven return for the veteran Melancon, but that seems a wise choice at this juncture.