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Gregg a waste of money for Jays

Feb 4, 2010, 5:20 PM EDT

Sometimes a team just wants a proven closer. It doesn’t matter if he’s any good or not; it’s just the safe play. If the proven closer fails, then it’s his fault. If the unproven closer fails, it’s management’s fault.
The 2010 Blue Jays, a team destined to finish in fourth or fifth place, now have their proven closer in Kevin Gregg. The $2.75 million guarantee is hardly so excessive as to make it one of the worst deals of the winter. In fact, it’s a little less than I thought he’d get. Still, it’s hard to see how he’s worth it when Guillermo Mota was forced to settle for a minor league deal the very same week.
Gregg, too, likely would have had to settle for a minor league contract this winter if not for the stroke of good fortune that landed him in Florida in 2007. After three years of pitching in obscurity in Anaheim, he quickly took over as the Marlins’ closer and saved 32 games in 36 chances. He was solid again in the first half of 2008, but knee problems took a toll and he ended up blowing nine saves in 38 chances before losing his closing job at the end of the year. Traded to the Cubs, he was handed the closer’s role over Carlos Marmol last spring, but he turned in a dreadful season. He blew seven saves in 30 chances, gave up 13 homers and finished with a 4.72 ERA in 68 2/3 innings.
In all, Gregg has a 4.03 ERA in 335 career relief appearances, about half of which came in the NL. The man he’s expected to supplant as Toronto’s closer, Jason Frasor, has a 3.78 ERA in 342 appearances, all of them coming as a Blue Jay. Going strictly by ERA, he’s had two seasons better than Gregg’s best and none as poor as Gregg’s worst.
Frasor, though, isn’t a favorite of Jays manager Cito Gaston’s. So, he’s set to return to a setup role, barring a trade.
It’s my opinion that Scott Downs, Frasor, Jeremy Accardo and Josh Roenicke are all better bets than Gregg for 2010. Casey Janssen might be as well, but he’ll have to show he’s healthy. The Jays also have Brian Tallet, Jesse Carlson and Shawn Camp coming back, though Tallet may begin the year in the rotation. There won’t be room for all of them, so either Downs or Frasor could be traded and Roenicke might return to Triple-A.
Perhaps that will work out if Downs or Frasor could bring back a talented young outfielder capable of stepping in right away. Still, the Jays could have gone that route with or without Gregg. Their $2.75 million was better utilized elsewhere.

  1. ChrisKol - Feb 4, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Would Gregg be considered a Type A agent though upon free agency and perhaps net the Jays a draft pick? I think he’ll have a solid performance as a middle reliever…or 2nd setup man or something.

  2. Matthew Pouliot - Feb 4, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    It’s possible, though since the Elias rankings are based on two years of performance and Gregg was a bust in 2008, he’d have to be very good. And if he’s very good, he’s probably going to have his options picked up. So, I don’t think draft picks are entering into their minds here.

  3. Andrew - Feb 4, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    If Gregg is an A there is no way the jays offer him arbitration. Best case he is a type B and someone else signs him.
    Still I don’t think he will be the closer. If one of Downs or Frasor gets traded he’ll be the 8th inning guy and backup closer. Otherwise I think he’s still 3rd on the closing depth chart. I just can’t see the jays using him as the closer due to his modest success a few years ago. Cito may not like Frasor personally but both he and Downs are just so much better. This is the same team that is paying BJ Ryan 10 million dollars next year to stay away. Before his release he did lose the closers role so they are not complete slaves to established closers.

  4. Ryan - Feb 4, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Cool. Can’t wait for Cito to make the pitching change and let batting practice start.

  5. Magic Closer Pixie Dust - Feb 4, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    The comments at http://www.battersbox.ca, a Blue Jay fan forum, are heavily against this acquisition. Many would not have thought such a move possible of new GM Alex Anthopolous, who is young enough to know better than to look in the saves column.

  6. Don - Feb 4, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    I’ll never give up on Gregg Jefferies. There is no question he will one day break Rose’s all-time hit records, so no way I would ever count him out.

  7. Old Gator - Feb 4, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    Spent a good part of this afternoon consoling my pal in Toronto about Gregg winding up on the Feather Lice. Quite a phone bill – in itself more than they should have paid him. But I owed it to him – he consoled me when Greg was flushing the Feesh’s 2008 season down the crapper, and he got me Cowboy Junkies tickets in the big T the following spring. But you’re right. Gregg threw more gophers than a stewed Texan running a backhoe both here and in Chicago. Separated from those Chicago pizzas, he might take a little lard off his knees and keep the ball down a bit better, but then Thai restaurants on Queen West will take over….

  8. Ryan - Feb 5, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    LMAO. Wow, what a way to start my morning.

  9. online stock trading - Feb 12, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! :)

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