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Jim Johnson, not Kevin Gregg, likely to be Orioles’ closer

Dec 27, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT


Earlier this offseason there was some talk about the Orioles possibly moving Jim Johnson into the rotation, but he now seems destined to remain in the bullpen and Roch Kubatko of expects Johnson to be the Opening Day closer.

That could still change if the Orioles acquire a veteran closer, but they whiffed on Huston Street and haven’t been linked to many free agents, leaving Johnson as the obvious in-house option after he converted seven straight save chances in September.

Johnson logged 91 innings in a setup role last season, so moving to closer might actually make him slightly less valuable for the Orioles if they limit him to the role’s usual 60-70 innings.

Another option is Kevin Gregg, who has plenty of closing experience and 144 career saves, but he was a mess in 2011 while saving 22 games and has long been a prime example of save totals being a misleading indicator of reliever ability.

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    Johnson is a much better pitcher than Gregg. I do wonder how many save opportunities there will be for the Orioles next season. Their young starters took a step backwards last season.

    • pisano - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM

      Good point proudly, it really won’t make a difference, as that team will be in chaos until a new owner takes over.

    • missthemexpos - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:51 AM

      Wow, hope you are not going too far out on a limb there PC, declaring Johnson a better pitcher than Gregg.

      • cur68 - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        Yeah, I too feared for PC’s compos mentis there, making claims and possibly maligning the fine abilities of one Gregg, Kevin…I’m sure there are guys named “Johnson” who look after vegetable aisles at markets that don’t pitch as well as KG. After all, heads of lettuce are heard to get a grip on one handed. PC should be more precise. To wit: James Robert Johnson
        Bats: Right, Throws: Right
        Height: 6′ 5″, Weight: 230 lb can out pitch Kevin Gregg (stats irrelevant) any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

  2. Old Gator - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Kevin Gregg still out their rattling chains at night? Sorry for being melodramatic but I still have horrible memories of him lumbering in from the boolpen at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium carrying his signature yellow five gallon gasoline can. Ugh.

    • Old Gator - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM

      …out there….

      Edit function!
      Edit function!

  3. kiwicricket - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    1/12/11: Signed two-year, $10 million contract w/ $6 million club option for 2013. 2013 option guaranteed with 50 GF in 2012 or 100 GF in 2011-12.

    That’s one very large, very expensive and very awful setup man.

    • randomdigits - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      Better for him to be an expensive set up man then let that option vest.

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