I really don’t want to whine and complain every time a free agent reliever is signed to a shiny new contract, but what exactly are the Orioles hoping to get out of signing Kevin Gregg to a $10 million contract over two years, plus a vesting option?
Between Gregg and last year’s favourite mistake Mike Gonzalez, Baltimore now has $11 million wrapped up in two relievers who likely rank as the second and third best options to close on the team. For only $3 million next season, the Orioles were able to convince Koji Uehara to come back in 2011. Last year the Japanese reliever pitched 44 innings of relief, accumulating a 2.40 FIP, 0.95 WHIP, and an astounding 11.00 K/BB ratio (the league average was 2.17).
If he doesn’t end up closing, Gregg will join Jason Berken and Jim Johnson further down the right handed relief pecking order. All three pitchers are similarly adequate, but Berken and Johnson combined won’t account for a fifth of what Gregg will cost the Orioles.
Shall we play the reliever guess who game?
Pitcher A: 4.44 K/BB, 0.68 HR/9, 1.41 WHIP, and 3.08 FIP.
Pitcher B: 1.93 K/BB, 0.61 HR/9, 1.39 WHIP, and 3.57 FIP.
Pitcher C: 2.37 K/BB, 0.72 HR/9, 1.33 WHIP, and 3.59 FIP.
Pitcher B is Kevin Gregg who will make $5 million this coming season, Pitcher A is Jim Johnson who is entering his first year of arbitration. Pitcher C is Jason Berken who will make around the league minimum next season.
The signing also means that Baltimore’s AL East rival Blue Jays receive another compensation pick, giving Toronto seven of the first 72 picks in the 2011 draft.