Kevin Gregg Rumors

NL East Notes: Gregg, Turner, Hamels, Harper

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.”

Marlins To Sign Kevin Gregg

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.

Kevin Gregg

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.


Quick Hits: Hardy, D’Backs, Gregg, Hawkins, Payrolls

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 GilbertThe 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 CardinalsRays 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 SoxMets and Cubs are the bottom three on the list.


Mets Still Pursuing Reliever With Closing Experience

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.


Mets Notes: Axford, Gregg, Drew, Payroll

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.

Quick Hits: Gregg, Tulowitzki, Gonzalez, Kendrick

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.

NL Central Notes: Liriano, Choo, Gregg

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:

  • 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.

Schierholtz Staying With Cubs

29-year-old Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is one of the better bats on the trade market.  He deserves credit for his strong work this year against right-handed pitching, but it's also a weak market for bats.  Schierholtz is under team control for 2014 as an arbitration eligible player, and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz suggests a salary in the $4.2MM range.  33-year-old center fielder David DeJesus is another candidate to be moved today; he comes with a $6.5MM club option for 2014.  DeJesus recently returned from a shoulder sprain. The latest on that pair as well as the Cubs' other trade chips…

Earlier Cubs Updates


Cubs Notes: Schierholtz, Russell, Gregg, Villanueva

The Cubs have plenty of trade chips remaining, but time is running out to deal them as tomorrow's 4pm ET deadline looms. Here's the latest…

  • The Pirates remain interested in Nate Schierholtz, writes Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. Concerns surrounding his shoulder cause the Bucs to switch gears to Alex Rios a few weeks back, but Schierholtz has demonstrated his health with strong play of late. Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that Schierholtz is likely to be traded.
  • Levine also reports that James Russell was nearly acquired by the Braves last week, and he's now drawing interest from the Reds. The Braves have since acquired Scott Downs to fill the left-handed void in their bullpen.  Russell had a rough outing in the first game of today's doubleheader, allowing a three-run home run to Khris Davis plus two other hits and a free pass.
  • Schierholtz and Kevin Gregg are the two Cubs most likely to be dealt prior to tomorrow's deadline, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Time reports. The Pirates and Tigers are scouting the Cubs' series with the Brewers, with the Bucs looking for outfield help and the Tigers on the hunt for bullpen help.
  • The Blue Jays have also been scouting the Cubs for the past week, according to Wittenmyer, but that's likely because they're looking to add pieces for 2014.
  • Wittenmyer adds that Carlos Villanueva isn't likely to be traded, as the Cubs value his versatility and cheap contract as they look to shuffle the roster again in 2014.

Stark On Howie Kendrick, Cubs, D’Backs

ESPN's Jayson Stark begins his latest column with a look at the Biogenesis situation.  As Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported, suspension announcements are not expected today.  Sherman expects the announcements to come Thursday or Friday.  In Stark's opinion, the Rangers are acting like a team that knows what Nelson Cruz will do if suspended, in that their aggressive search for a bat suggests he might serve a suspension now to preserve his free agent value.  Meanwhile, the Tigers' lack of pursuit of a backup plan to shortstop Jhonny Peralta suggests he'll appeal.  Elsewhere in Stark's column:

  • The Dodgers and Angels, who haven't made a trade in 20 years, had a "mostly casual conversation" regarding Halos second baseman Howie Kendrick.  There are no indications a deal is in the works.
  • The Angels are at least listening on infielders Kendrick, Erick Aybar, and Alberto Callaspo, and seeking high quality big league ready pitching in return.
  • The Cubs could move Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz, but are extremely unlikely to trade lefty reliever James Russell and there's just about zero chance of a Jeff Samardzija trade.
  • Pitchers Ian Kennedy and J.J. Putz of the Diamondbacks and Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays "have suddenly been made available."  Trading Kennedy would allow Arizona to clear around $1.4MM toward another move.  Are they that hard up for cash?