Golly Gee, do the Blue Jays really need Kevin Gregg?

Trust me, I was just as surprised as you guys when information leaked earlier today that the Blue Jays were the front-runners to land free agent reliever Kevin Gregg.

The club already has a surplus for relievers, yet for some reason, the Blue Jays have reportedly agreed to a deal with Gregg which could earn him upwards of $12 million dollars.

At first, the only two logical explanations were that the Blue Jays were trying to make up for the fact that they have sorely been lacking a Gregg with two G’s on the team since Zaun left. Either that, or the Blue Jays front office decided that the team needed a reliever with funky glasses to fill the shoes of Brandon League.


Now here we are as the Blue Jays are on the verge of bringing in the former closer for the Florida Marlins and Chicago Cubs. It doesn’t make much sense, because either Jason Frasor or Scott Downs was supposed to be the closer for 2010.

I realize that Alex Anthopoulos is trying to stockpile plenty of arms in hopes that he can build some assets for the future, but at what point does it become overkill? If AA is trying to monopolize the reliever market for the upcoming trade deadline, he’s going about it in a very strange way.

Kevin Gregg could become a Type A free agent once again, and the Blue Jays could receive a first round pick for him in 2011. Unfortunately, as we saw with the pick that they received by letting go of Marco Scutaro, the draft pick can easily be bumped to the second round.

The other school of thought is that the Blue Jays will try to build Gregg’s value so they can flip him for prospects at the trade deadline. While it seems like there are always teams in the hunt for closers come mid-season, it seems like a strange risk to take to net a couple of prospects.

This all is a very backwards way of doing business.

Unless Kevin Gregg is 20 for 20 in save opportunities and holds runners to a .230 average before the trade deadline, I’m afraid the Blue Jays won’t get much in return for him. If he performs about as well as he has the past few seasons, it could just be money flushed down the toilet.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

9 thoughts on “Golly Gee, do the Blue Jays really need Kevin Gregg?

  • February 3, 2010 at 1:57 am

    He'll probably be type A next year, as he was comfortably in that range, and will probably stay there next year as well.
    Alex basically bought himself 2 draft picks next year, not a bad deal I think. It's not a massive contract by any means, and it means we still have room to trade off some extra arms who may not net us picks next year. That also gives us the potential to have Downs, Frasor, and Gregg have type A status. 6 extra picks? Yes please.

  • February 3, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Good point Nick, I never considered that Downs, Frasor and Gregg could all be Type A free agents. Though realistically, I think only two of those relievers would get enough work to become Type A free agents.

    It's an unconventional move by AA, so I hope he knows what he's doing.

  • February 3, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Gregg had a score of 75, with the lowest AL reliever had 68. Frasor was at 66, while Downs is at 78. If we set a bench mark at around 70 for the Elias scores, it certainly is in the realm of possibility for all 3 to achieve type A status. And if one misses out, then they get type B. The Jays could also try and adjust things down the stretch by giving one guy more save opportunities then others to try and boost their rankings. If the Jays really want to get all three to type B they definitely should be able to.

    Also – If the Jays were to sign Damon, he could get us another 2 picks. Hell, if we wanted to go all out and get picks I think O-Dog and Dye are still available…

  • February 3, 2010 at 4:01 am

    One last thing… Forgot to mention that Gregg is a great rebound candidate. His HR rate last year was twice his career average, and his xFIP was his lowest since 2005. He will have a quality year in 2010, even though he throws sorta like he's doing the shot put.

  • February 3, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Nick, while I'm starting to understand AA's logic behind these moves, maybe he would be better served to use that money in contracts dealt out to Gregg (and Damon hypothetically) and use it to sign next year's draft picks, or put that money into scouting for the future?

    I'm with you that Gregg will bounce back this year. Some people are afraid that the AL East hitters are going to eat him alive, but I think he can stand his ground. His K/9 and B/99 are pretty decent.

  • February 3, 2010 at 5:27 am

    I'm not quite as bullish on Gregg as Nick seems to be. By their nature, relief pitchers have quality fluctuations from year to year, and I'd rather not be holding the bag on Gregg. If you're just looking for assets to flip, then AA might be better served by going after position players, who feel like more consistent performers to me.

  • February 3, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Getting a draft pick means offering arbitration and hoping a team is willing to give up a draft pick.

    honestly, if the Jays can sign Gregg on Feb. 2 for under 3 mill, who exactly is going to sign him next winter knowing they have to give up a first rounder to get him?

    That would be a big fat NOBODY.

    Valverde had to go crawling and he has a lot better track record than Gregg.

  • February 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I'd almost rather see Gregg as a type B at the end of this year (and I don't think that's out of the question, as he'll have to battle all year for the closer job). A supplemental pick is more than enough to justify his contract, and since another team would be more likely to sign him as a type B, the chances of him accepting a Jays arbitration offer would be lower. Either way, more depth in the bullpen is probably still a good thing at this point… plus, we never know who Cito is gonna try stretching out into a starter…

  • February 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Steve, you're right – it seems like positional players are always more in demand at the trade deadline than relief pitchers. But on the other hand, there are always teams out there who have bullpen collapses and need stable arms to carry them to the end of the season. Kevin Gregg could be that integral piece for another team.

    Southpaw, as tempting as Kevin Gregg might be, just as you said, teams would be hardpressed to give up a first rounder unless they really really really needed a closer.

    Hilleraj, I like how AA is stockpiling arms, but you have to think that either Frasor or Downs are out the door now. The Blue Jays would be best to trade them now and get full value (especially on Frasor).

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