The 36-year-old started the year with the Reds, but was released after struggling to a 10.13 ERA in 10 2/3 innings. Gregg did show an ability to miss bats in that stint, racking up 14 strikeouts (against five walks). Gregg put up better results at Tacoma, putting up 9 1/3 innings of 2.89 ERA ball with an 8-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Marines have signed righty Kevin Gregg to a minor league deal, the team announced (via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, on Twitter). He will head to Triple-A, taking the place of the recently-traded Yoervis Medina in the Tacoma pen.
Gregg, 36, was designated recently by the Reds after opening the year with a prominent role in the Cincinnati pen. He struck out 14 batters in his 10 2/3 innings, walking five in the process, but nevertheless scuffled to a 10.13 ERA.
Over parts of 13 years in the big leagues, Gregg has posted 720 1/3 innings and averaged a 4.24 ERA. His best stretch came in the 2007-2010 time frame, when he closed for the Marlins, Cubs, and Blue Jays. (Since, he has also functioned in a 9th-inning capacity for the Orioles and again in Chicago.)
The 36-year-old Gregg made Cincinnati’s bullpen out of Spring Training after signing a minor league deal this offseason, but he’s struggled all season long. Gregg has appeared in 11 contests for Cincinnati and allowed runs in eight of them, the end result of which is a grisly 10.13 ERA.
Gregg has missed plenty of bats with the Reds, whiffing 14 batters against five walks in his 10 2/3 frames, and he’s also averaged 91 mph on his heater — his best since 2012. His struggles have contributed to a team-wide problem for the Reds. Cincinnati has a collective 5.56 bullpen ERA that ranks dead last in the Majors, with the Rockies’ 5.20 mark representing a relatively distant second-worst.
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.