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June 9, 2014

Closer to Me

Week 11: The Ballad of Kevin Gregg

by Mauricio Rubio


When bullpens struggle, it shows in big and spectacular ways. There are a few ways major-league teams in contention go about shuffling fungible assets, the most common fix being the acquisition of retreads—journeyman relievers whose careers crested long ago and are now in decline.

The reasoning is simple: If you look hard enough, you can still see the heights of a player’s career arc—the high-water mark of competence and perhaps even borderline brilliance still visible on the worn façade of a given pitcher’s life in baseball.

Proven closers get shots long after their effectiveness was at its peak. Francisco Rodriguez was long thought to be done by this writer. Nowhere in his declining peripheral numbers and increasing propensity to give up loud contact did I think he still had something left in the tank, but I should have known better than to completely write him off.

Recent baseball history is thick with journeyman relievers and obscure nobodies coming in and nailing down 30 improbable saves in a given season, and I didn’t have to look too far to find a prime example of a retread pitcher working hard to chase that dream and still be relevant in baseball.

Kevin Gregg was never a dominant closer, but he was one who earned “Proven Closer” status, and for that, he’ll always get a shot from organizations that might think he still has something left in the tank.

Gregg will always walk the dangerous WHIP line because he lacks command of his arsenal. The stuff was always good enough to miss bats, but his propensity to drift the fastball over the heart of the plate, leave the splitter up in the zone, or just simply flip up a spinning slider right into a hitter’s hot zone was frequently his undoing.

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Related Content:  Saves,  Closers,  Fantasy

11 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Cronfordox

i'm in a ten team mixed league and i've finally decided to give up on the abysmal BALLFOUR (sic)-- better late than never, right?? -- so i'd be curious what your suggestion would be about whom, among all of the "non annointed" relievers now working in any of the major league bullpens would be the one most likely to accumulate the greatest number of vulture saves for me between now and the end of the year?? thanks!!

Jun 09, 2014 07:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

Neil Ramirez and Zach Putnam immediately come to mind. Joel Hanrahan too.

Jun 09, 2014 07:07 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

I hate Kevin Gregg so much.

Jun 09, 2014 07:16 AM
 
Brad Clark

That makes two of us. When he was in Baltimore, we had a name for him: "The Garbage Man."

Jun 09, 2014 09:52 AM
rating: 0
 
Cronfordox

thanks for the tips!! i've never even heard of the first two before, and i just know that hanrahan was part of the scene in boston for about five minutes at the beginning of last year before uehara started biggin' up the area. let the research begin!!

Jun 09, 2014 08:32 AM
rating: -1
 
Lenzkid10

What about Kirby Yates recently promoted in Tampa?

Jun 09, 2014 08:53 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

Interesting arm but I want to see him pitch before picking him up in most leagues

Jun 09, 2014 09:04 AM
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

Addison Reed will remain closer despite his HR profile.

Jun 09, 2014 09:03 AM
 
Quagmire

How about Ziegler's chances of taking over in Arizona?

Jun 09, 2014 09:03 AM
rating: 0
 
David Schwalb

I'm starting wonder when the Cards give Rosenthal a demotion. Motte hasn't exactly been a reliable option, but perhaps if he starts to put it together again?

Jun 09, 2014 12:34 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

Grant Balfour is out as Rays closer

Jun 09, 2014 12:38 PM
 
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Fantasy Article Interleague Report: We... (06/09)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week 10 (06/02)
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Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week 12 (06/16)
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The Week in Quotes: Ju... (06/09)

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