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Kevin Gregg Rumors
With rosters being finalized around the league, it’s a busy time for players departing and ascending to the 40-man roster. Here’s the latest:
- The Twins announced that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Shane Robinson, who had been in camp on a Minor League deal. The 30-year-old Robinson had previously spent his entire career in the Cardinals organization and will presumably serve as the right-handed half of a center field platoon with Jordan Schafer. Minnesota entered Spring Training hoping that Aaron Hicks would show progress and win the center field job outright, but he struggled throughout the month and was optioned to Triple-A, paving the way for Robinson to make the roster. In parts of five seasons with St. Louis, Robinson is a .231/.303/.308 hitter in 452 plate appearances. He’s received strong marks at all three outfield spots, per UZR and DRS, and he hit .283/.340/.370 in Grapefruit League action this year.
- The Reds are set to add several veterans to their 40-man roster, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Veteran righties Kevin Gregg and Jason Marquis will be joined by reserves Brennan Boesch and Chris Dominguez on the Opening Day roster, and all will need a 40-man spot. That crunch already led the team to outright reliever Sam LeCure, and several other slots will need to be created before things are official.
- The Rockies have selected the contract of right-hander Rafael Betancourt, the team announced last night (on Twitter). Betancourt, who will turn 40 at the end of this month, has gone through a somewhat remarkable comeback, recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent as a 38-year-old to return to the 40-man roster. The former Rox closer has had an excellent spring, yielding just one run on eight hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. He adds another arm with closing experience to what is looking like a fairly murky bullpen situation in Colorado. It’s worth mentioning that setup man Rex Brothers was optioned to Triple-A and won’t be a factor in the ‘pen in the season’s early stages.
Earlier today, the Reds announced that they’ve signed Kevin Gregg to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. Gregg, 36, allowed 10 earned runs in nine innings with the Marlins last season before undergoing season-ending surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow. The former Cubs/Marlins/Blue Jays closer has a lifetime 4.15 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 709 2/3 innings. He has a $1.5MM base salary on his contract should he make the team, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
Here are the rest of the day’s minor moves from around the league…
- The Mets have signed left-hander Duane Below to a minor league contract, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Below, however, was not invited to big league camp. Instead, the former Tigers hurler will head to Triple-A and attempt to earn his way up to the big league roster with a strong performance in-season. Below, 29, has a 4.27 ERA in 78 big league innings, having averaged 5.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Though he shows much better control versus lefties, he’s allowed nearly identical .716 and .715 OPS marks to right-handers and left-handers, respectively. He has a 3.60 career ERA in the minors with a 730-to-341 K/BB ratio in 883 innings. Below spent last season with Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate.
- The Brewers and Nationals seemed intriguing trade partners after their most recent moves, but Milwaukee did not ship out Yovani Gallardo with intentions of dealing for local product Jordan Zimmermann, according to a report from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Instead, the club will trust young righty Jimmy Nelson with a rotation spot for the coming year.
- Meanwhile, the Rangers added Gallardo with hopes that he will throw well enough to warrant a longer-term relationship or, at least, a qualifying offer, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. It remains to be seen whether Gallardo will warrant a qualifying offer after the season, but he seems reasonably likely to receive and reject one. After all, the Brewers picked up his option this year at close to the QO rate and he will surely be looking for a long-term deal entering his age-30 season.
- Much of the free agent market has been resolved, but right-handed relief remains an area with several options, including not only several former closers but also sturdy middle relief options such as Burke Badenhop. Among the teams with interest in building out their bullpens are the Red Sox, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Nationals, and Brewers, Rosenthal notes on Twitter.
- Righty Kevin Gregg will put on a showcase today for around half of the league’s teams, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Gregg, 36, had elbow chips removed in August but reportedly feels good and is hoping to sign soon. The 12-year MLB veteran was hit hard in just a dozen outings last year, but managed a 3.48 ERA over 62 frames in 2013 with the Cubs.
The Marlins announced today that Kevin Gregg‘s season is over, as the 36-year-old right-hander will undergo surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. The Fish inked Gregg to a minor league deal back in early June and guaranteed him a base salary that was roughly equivalent to the value of the Competitive Balance pick they traded to the Pirates for fellow righty Bryan Morris. While the Morris acquisition has paid off in spades — he’s allowed one earned run in 31 1/3 innings — the decision to essentially reallocate that money to Gregg didn’t work out anywhere near as nicely. Gregg allowed 10 runs in nine innings with Miami before hitting the DL last month.
Here’s more on the Marlins and the rest of the NL East…
- The Marlins‘ decision to designate former top prospect Jacob Turner for assignment raised some eyebrows, and MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tries to shed some light on the rationale behind the move. Having tried Turner in both the rotation and the bullpen, Frisaro writes, the Marlins lost patience with his struggles. Wanting to change up their roster with the faint hope of a playoff push still in their minds, the club designated the out-of-options righty to clear roster space for Brian Flynn. However, Frisaro writes that it will likely end up being Brad Penny that takes Turner’s roster spot. While Penny has excelled in five Triple-A starts with the Marlins, it’s tough to buy the idea that a veteran who hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2012 and posted a 5.41 ERA from 2011-12 is a more viable alternative based on 27 2/3 Triple-A innings. Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus give the Marlins a 4.6 percent shot at making the playoffs (via division title or wild card), and the notion that Penny increases those odds enough to justify parting with four years of team control over Turner is a tough sell in my mind.
- Disagreeing with an earlier piece from colleague Rob Neyer, Dave Cameron writes that the Phillies should have traded Cole Hamels prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. While much has been made of the fact that the Phillies don’t need to shed salary, Cameron notes that the salary saved on Hamels could have been reallocated to the free agent market (one that will be filled with high-end pitchers) to acquire immediate help. Those free agents could’ve paired with potential MLB-ready help to improve the club’s immediate future. Cameron also cautions against the notion that Hamels can help the next contending team in Philadelphia, as the club looks to be far away from contention, and there’s little guarantee when it comes to pitchers — even elite ones — sustaining their success into their 30s.
- Nationals manager Matt Williams sounded off to reporters, including MLB.com’s Daniel Popper, expressing his anger over the fact that some had inferred from Williams’ comments on a radio station that Bryce Harper could be sent to the minor leagues. In a Wednesday morning radio appearance, Williams was asked if it was a stupid idea to suggest that Harper could be demoted for a week to fix his swing. Williams responded by saying it wasn’t stupid — as such tactics are often employed with struggling young talent — but quickly followed by saying that Harper’s situation was different because he is a “special young player.” In talking with reporters Wednesday evening, Williams vented a bit, stating: “It [ticks] me off to even think about the fact that somebody would take a comment that I make on the radio and infer that I am thinking one way or another. I’ve had it. … [Harper]’s a very important part of our team, just like everybody else is. Do we understand each other? It’s not fair to the kid. It’s not fair to the rest of the clubhouse to even think about sending Bryce Harper to the Minor Leagues or to cause a stir. It’s unacceptable. It won’t happen.”
7:41pm: Gregg will receive a $2.1MM pro-rated salary upon being called up, which means he’ll earn right around the same amount ($1.4MM) that the Marlins will now forego in draft bonus slot money, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
5:37pm: MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports (via Twitter) that Gregg’s deal is technically a minor league deal. The Marlins won’t have to make a 40-man move immediately, and they won’t have to make a procedural move like placing Gregg on optional waivers before sending him to the minors, as the Red Sox did with Stephen Drew.
3:51pm: The Marlins have agreed to sign right-hander Kevin Gregg, pending a physical, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Gregg will spend eight or nine days getting up to speed in the minors before joining the Major League club.
In a second tweet, Rosenthal adds that part of the reason behind Miami’s decision to trade their No. 39 overall pick to the Pirates in exchange for Bryan Morris was to clear room to sign another reliever (Gregg). The draft slot traded by the Fish was valued at $1.4MM.
The 35-year-old Gregg (he turns 36 later this month) posted a 3.48 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, a 36.6 percent ground-ball rate and 33 saves in 62 innings for the Cubs in 2013. Though that marked the most success that Gregg had enjoyed since a solid 2010 season with the Blue Jays, Gregg didn’t find an offer to his liking this winter. The veteran told reporters in April that he wasn’t sure why he couldn’t secure a guaranteed big league deal this offseason but felt he could still get outs at the Major League level and was waiting for the right offer.
Gregg, a client of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, has had an up-and-down career but owns a 4.07 ERA and 177 saves in 700 2/3 Major League innings. The Marlins are hoping that he can help to bolster a relief corps that has, to this point, produced a 4.04 ERA that ranks 23rd among MLB bullpens. The team’s most recent attempt to revitalize a former Cubs closer didn’t pan out well, as Carlos Marmol pitched to an 8.10 ERA before being released.
This marks Gregg’s second stint with the Marlins, as he served as the team’s closer back in the 2007-08 campaigns, saving 61 games. The team has been a pleasant surprise this season, going 28-28 through its first 56 games, placing them three games back of the Braves in the National League East and one game out of a Wild Card spot.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy told reporters today (including Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun) that he won’t comment any further on his contract situation because there haven’t been any new developments. “There’s nothing to discuss,” said Hardy before adding that there haven’t been any recent negotiations between the two sides. Encina writes that Hardy and the O’s haven’t had extension talks since Spring Training. A few more late night links from around the league…
- Asked about the performance of rookie starter Mike Bolsinger following a strong start on Thursday, Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero launched into an unprompted defense of GM Kevin Towers, manager Kirk Gibson and the Arizona coaching staff, writes MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. “The bottom line is, it’s our responsibility to go out there and take care of business,” said Montero. “I just wanted to say that, because the blame should be on us.” Montero said he would be “disappointed” if anything were to happen to Towers, Gibson or any of the coaches.
- Right-hander Kevin Gregg tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times that he’s in shape and waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. Gregg isn’t sure why he wasn’t able to land a guaranteed big league deal after a solid 2013 campaign with the Cubs but feels he can still get outs in the Majors and would welcome the opportunity to pitch in 2014. Gregg has been working out and pitching to college hitters at his home in Oregon to stay in shape as he waits for a deal. He spoke with a number of teams this offseason, writes Wittenmyer, but the Cubs weren’t one of them.
- LaTroy Hawkins was surprised when the Rockies‘ offer to him this offseason included an opportunity to close games, writes Tracy Ringolsby for MLB.com. Hawkins says, however, that it was made clear that he was merely keeping the seat warm for Rex Brothers. Hawkins explains to Ringolsby the wisdom he’s trying to impart on Brothers as the young left-hander prepares himself to be the long-term answer for Colorado in the ninth inning.
- The Cardinals, Rays and Giants top a list of baseball’s smartest spenders over the past five that was devised by Ira Boudner, Evan Applegate and Ritchie S. King of Bloomberg Businessweek. The three have created a weighted system for all four major American sports based on the price paid per win compared to the league average and also created an interactive graphic for users to customize the list. In contrast, the White Sox, Mets and Cubs are the bottom three on the list.
7:23pm: While the Mets are indeed looking for a late-inning reliever, and could give out a MLB deal to get one, the club is unlikely to land Rodney, a source tells Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter).
4:44pm: Though the Mets recently announced the signing of Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league deal, the team still has some money allotted for a "closer type" reliever, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, citing a source that is not affiliated with the club.
Fernando Rodney is believed to be New York's top target, but Rubin's source wouldn't rule out Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan or Ryan Madson either. Other relievers on the market that come with closer experience include Carlos Marmol, Andrew Bailey and Brandon Lyon, though Lyon spent last season with the Mets with less than favorable results (4.98 ERA in 34 1/3 innings). Those next three names are just my speculation, not names that were mentioned by Rubin or his source.
Rubin writes that incumbent closer Bobby Parnell is confident that he will be healthy following surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. However, as Rubin points out, the Mets have little in terms of a fallback plan should Parnell go down with another injury. Hard-throwing Vic Black projects to be next in line for the closer's throne, and he has a total of 17 big league innings under his belt.
Both the Mets and Yankees have already made notable signings this offseason, but both Big Apple franchises still need bullpen help, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters that his team would "take a hard look at" adding veteran relief arms, and to that end, Martino reports that Alderson met with the agent for John Axford and Kevin Gregg on Wednesday. The Orioles, Cubs, Mariners and Indians are some of the many teams who have shown interest in Axford while Gregg's market has been much quieter.
Here are some more items about the Amazins…
- "I think it's more likely if we come up with a 'high-end' shortstop or someone we like, it's more likely to come in a trade," Alderson told reporters, including Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. This seems to hint that the Mets have moved on from Stephen Drew, though Silverman wonders if Alderson could simply be engaging in some gamesmanship. The Mets have been linked to Drew this winter but aren't eager to give the shortstop a two-year contract.
- The Mets feel like they would have to overpay to sign Drew and keep him from re-signing with the Red Sox, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). The Mets' next move, therefore, is to acquire a young shortstop in a trade. Rosenthal cites the names of the Diamondbacks' Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings and the Mariners' Brad Miller and Nick Franklin as shortstops who could be candidates to be dealt, though Seattle might not be open to such talks right now since they're "currently preoccupied" with trying to acquire David Price from the Rays.
- With Johan Santana and Jason Bay off the books, the Mets are closer to finding the so-called payroll "sweet spot" when no single player accounts for an overly-large percentage of a team's payroll, Newsday's Marc Carig writes. David Wright accounts for roughly 24% of the Mets' projected 2014 payroll, and while this is a larger share than most teams would prefer, Wright is at least the Mets' best player, Carig notes.
Kevin Gregg blasted the Cubs after misunderstanding comments from manager Dale Sveum and president Theo Epstein said it was possible that he would release the veteran. However, the Cubs decided over the weekend to accept Gregg's apology for the incident and will hang on to him, writes Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune. Here's more from around baseball..
- The Rockies are not shopping all-stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, sources with direct knowledge of the club's plans told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. There's still a very small possibility that one will be dealt to address multiple needs, but there is zero likelihood that both will be moved. Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Rockies ownership doesn't have much interest in moving either player.
- Also from Renck, he expects the Cardinals to pursue a trade for Tulowitzki this offseason.
- After being shut down for the season, Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick is now shifting his focus towards 2014 and thinking about where he could be pitching next season, writes Kevin Roberts for MLB.com. Kendrick, who made $4.5MM this season, will be eligible for salary arbitration this offseason.
- Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review puts the spotlight on Dan Fox, the man who built the Pirates' analytical department.
MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince offers up a list of what he considers to be the Top 10 acquisitions of this past offseason, headlined by the Pirates' signing of Francisco Liriano. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has also tabbed Liriano as the best open-market pick-up of 2013. Recently, MLBTR's Steve Adams got GM Neal Huntington's take on that signing as well as some other recent offseason acquisitions. Here are a few more notes from the National League's Central division:
- A Reds player told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link) that pending free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo "loves it" in Cincinnati and that teammates have been "working on him"to stay in town. Of course, with several big contracts already on the books, and with Billy Hamilton potentially ready to help at the MLB level, it has been fairly questioned whether the Reds would be in the mix for Choo.
- Cinci GM Walt Jocketty says the team is in fact interested in bringing back Choo, fellow Enquirer newsman C. Trent Rosecrans reports. "We feel we have a good fit for him," Jocketty explained. "We have a winning team that is built to win." The GM implied that the team had hoped to talk extension with Choo's agent, Scott Boras, earlier this year. "We've expressed to him all year [sic] our interest in re-signing him," said Jocketty. "He's wanted to wait or maybe Scott wants to wait until the year is over. We have interest in re-signing. We'll do everything we can to make that happen." Now set to hit the market after an outstanding season, Choo's price tag figures to be higher than it would have been in a mid-year extension scenario. He currently occupies the fifth slot on the 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.
- After apparently misunderstanding comments from manager Dale Sveum regarding save opportunities down the stretch, Cubs closer Kevin Gregg blasted the organization in the media. As detailed by ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine and Jesse Rogers, GM Theo Epstein says that he could release Gregg, and will consider the decision overnight. Epstein explained that the team had no intentions of removing Gregg from his role, but instead wanted to allow recent acquisition Pedro Strop to finish a few games.
- Even if Gregg holds on with Chicago for the rest of the year, the incident — along with Strop's audition — could impact whether the team has any interest in bringing him back next year. Though he has cooled down considerably after a remarkable comeback in the season's earlygoing, Gregg has notched 32 saves on the year. Either way, as Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com notes, Gregg recently triggered a $500k bonus by finishing his 50th game of the year.