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December 17, 2010

Agent: O's one of few teams still in mix with Gregg

Danny Horwits, the agent for free-agent reliever Kevin Gregg, said today that his client has narrowed down his focus in recent days, though the Orioles remain very much in the mix.

"It’s fair to say that we’re still in discussions with a few teams and Baltimore is one of them," Horwits said. "There are a few teams involved. Over the last couple of days. a couple of new teams have gotten involved and Kevin has informed a couple of other teams that he has narrowed his focus down to others and he’s moving on. It has changed over last week to 10 days, but there are a few teams still involved."

Horwits said the reliever, who saved 37 games for the Toronto Blue Jays last year, is hoping to make a decision sooner rather than later.

"Kevin would like be done before the holidays. It might take two days; it might take seven days. But quicker is certainly on the agenda," Horwits said.

Asked whether Gregg could make his decision today, Horwits said: "Could be. Could be today, could be four, five days out. There’s no real timeframe. In the Orioles’ case, you have to talk to [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail] as far as their desire to get a resolution. But I think both sides are on the same page."

Horwits declined to characterize which team is the front-runner for Gregg's services, but he did say the opportunity to close is very important to him.

"He has opportunities to both be a setup man and a closer," Horwits said. "The last four years, he’s averaged 30-plus saves. As he says, closing is in his blood and that’s what he likes to do. I would say having that opportunity is very important."

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 12:18 PM | | Comments (25)
        

Comments

We need to move on and focus on someone else other than Gregg. Buck is too smart to guarantee the closer job to anybody. He wants to win period, and wants players who feel the same way. He is not about specific monikers, or numbers. We can't guarantee what this Gregg guy wants, so to heck with him and get a guy that wants to win as a player on a team.

Jeff,
There's been talk that Gregg is a bit of a head case. There was that confrontation here in Baltimore he had with Gaston, and apparently some things have come out about his time in Chicago with the ever patient Lou Pineilla. Any insight into his character and could any character issues be holding up things?

Thanks.

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Dan's Reply: I dont think there are any real character issues here -- certainly not any that would "hold things up." If it doesn't get done, it's about money. Gregg is an intense competitor and doesn't like to give up the ball, and that doesn't always work in the heat of the moment. But I don't think that'll stop anyone from signing him.

sounds like he's pushing for a little bit more from AM. do you think he will budge?

More Greinke News! This is more interesting then the "Gregg News" for sure! He has a new agent! Also, his new agent is also the agent for Joe Blanton.
How about that! As Mel Allen used to say!

http://mlb.fanhouse.com/2010/12/17/source-zack-greinke-changes-agents/

Now! No if's, and's, AM's, or PA's! Come on Oriole Brain Trust & Treasury do something "Splash" Worthy for once!
Now this Pitching Rotation could make us competitive and calm me!

1.) Greinke
2.) Gutherie
3.) Blanton
4.) Matusz
5.) To Be Determined after the trade if one should occur

Gregg would be a welcomed addition. Notice that Gregg has offers for both setup and closing. Gregg has to know going into any situation that hes going to be used in multiple capacities. In the end, I think he ends up becoming the closer unless we see more longevity out of Uehara. But if Gregg fights his way into the closing role, good for him and good for us. That means he had to beat out a few pretty good pitchers to do so. In any case, I dont think anyone playing for Showalter would question his judgement. If this were Trembley, Gregg could make those demands.

Squirrel, are you nuts? Greinke I would love to have him but Blanton couldn't pitch in the NL east let alone the AL east. Sure it would be nice to have a #1 pitcher and if we can get him without giving up Britton or Matusz then we should try to make a move. Greinke though has had 1 great season and is outside of that a lot like our other pitchers; needing to be more consistent.

Gregg on the other hand saved 37 games in our division last year pitching against New York, Boston, and Tampa; 3 very good offenses. Mike Gonzalez does not seem to be the answer and Koji is injury prone. Besides if Koji stays healthy and Gonzalez is everything this year that he was not last year, then we will have a great bullpen if we add Gregg.

I say yes to Gregg and get Greinke if you can without giving up the farm. A big fat NO to Blanton because he is Kevin Millwood all over again and we saw how that played out.

Not a huge fan of Gregg. Use the spare bullpen spot for the starter who doesn't make the rotation, just like they did in the old days, and New York has done recently. He's not worth the money. I certainly don't think we should sign him with the understanding that he's our closer: that could lead to problems and I don't think he's that great at it anyway.

Use the cash for our 1b offer, or to sign some guys overseas, or something else.

The O's don't need anybody who thinks he can dictate how he will be used instead of management making that decision.

Does the name "Haynesworth" mean anything to anyone?

Tell Gregg he is welcome to come here if he is for the TEAM, not for himself.

@Squirrel...if the O's were to get Greinke (extremely unlikely IMHO) why would they want Blanton? I'd be perfectly comfy with Greinke, Guthrie, Matusz, Bergesen and Arrieta....still, they're far more likely to get Blanton than Greinke.

Gregg looks like pretty small potatoes for the kind of money they're talking about. I completely agree w/the sentiment that the O's need to be looking for big impact players now, like Greinke on the mound and either LaRoche or Lee at first base.

Jeff, on an unrelated topic, how did the O's lose the services of Jayson Werth, a former #1 pick of theirs?

--

They traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever John Bale (whom they later dealt to the New York Mets for Gary Matthews Jr.). As bad as that Werth trade looks now, the guy was an injury risk in the minors and he bounced around before hitting his stride in Philly.

will a,

Not to put a damper on your parade, but that rotation is not as improved as you seem to think. After all, Blanton hasn't had a sub-4 ERA since 2007 (when it was 3.95) and posted a 4.82 ERA and a 1.417 WHIP last year in the National League!!! I'm not saying he's a bad pitcher, he's just nothing special. I'd take him on the team as a 5th starter to increase depth, but that's about it.

As for Grienke, it's certain that he'd be the most talent of our pitchers and help anchor our rotation, but the Royals want the moon for a guy that has anxiety issues (could be trouble in big games) and pitcher to a 4.17 ERA last year. His numbers last year were more indicative of his career averages than his career 2009 campaign. Again, I would love him atop the rotation, but at least 2 of Arrieta/Tillman/Britton on top of a couple other solid players is a bit too much for me.

If "having that opportunity" means that he can compete for the job, then okay. Otherwise, I don't believe he should be guaranteed the closer's role. One couldn't have asked more from Koji once they put him in the right role. I believe he was 13 for 15 is save situations and, on one of the two he blew, he admitted to forgoing his splitter in favor of all fastballs and Swisher took him deep.

On a more macro perspective, I think the Orioles should let performance dictate who plays and in what roles. I think not doing so was a critical error on Dave Trembley's part. Too many guys were way too comfortable on teams that consistently underperformed. I'm certain that Buck Showalter won't make the same mistake.

On A final note, why isn't Troy Patton's name more in the discussion for the bullpen? He did pitch at the major league level for Houston, then got injured. We hear about Ohman and talks with Fuentes or bringing back Hendrickson. Is there something about
Patton that is keeping him from receiving real consideration for 2011?

@Doug

To answer your question, Yes I am!

Seriously, though I would be more interested in Jonathan Papelbon. He might, I emphasize might be on the trading block. As a rule of definition relievers don't share well. Therefore there's no platooning in Save Land aka Boston! Andy Mac seems to be pretty good if not very good when conducting a trade. So if the O's are going to spend "Big Bucks" while hoping for "No Whammies"

http://www.confidentfool.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/whammyvl6.jpg

It's my opinion, that Papelbon is worth the "Big Bucks" trade and in this case Gregg would be a Whammy!

As for Blanton, I would much rather have him over Pavano. Jeff Z seemed to like him too. Lastly, remember Pat Gillick traded for him, so he must have seen something. He traded for him not too much longer after they played.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK200806240.shtml

I am not in favor of signing any reliever that guarantees any particular job especially 'closer' . We will have at least 4 or more players, all with closing experience and all with good previous closing records at some point in time in the past.. The last thing we should be doing is tying Showalter's hands by any contractual promises made to obtain a particular player. If Greg is not happy with that, then move on because we do not need him in Baltimore. This is a pretty healthy reliever FA market and the last thing we need is a relatively expensive 2 or 3 year contract with a player that ends up unhappy because he does not get what he as an individual wants. Baseball is a 'team' game!

Sounds like also ran rhetoric from Gregg's agent toward the O's. No big deal. The guy ain't worth $4+M/yr anyway. A few more Accardo's will do fine

Hey squirrel, guys like Bergesen (a sinker baller ala Erickson) are an ideal fit as a #4 starter in Camden yards. And, Britton is a real deal and will prove it this year. 2012 will be a log jam in the rotation if Matusz, Bergesen and Arrieta all live up to reasonable expectations.

And, Harvey is right about Patton. The guy is smart and has legit potential if given a fair shot which will happen now that Showalter is driving the bus.

Jeff -- As much as I'm for the Orioles adding Zach Greinke, I think the Royals are asking too much. The Blue Jays just nixed a trade when they learned Kansas City wanted Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider in return.

Of course, Greinke has a no-trade clause to his contract that would make all of this discussion moot if the O's are on the list.

As for Gregg, I'm sort of indifferent but marginally open to it, because the bullpen still needs arms. If he's on his game, he can be very good.

We have a guy in Koji who was a proven closer in Japan and when he finally got the closer job here made two bad pitches the whole time and never walked anyone. Gregg needs to be told straight up by Buck if he signs with Baltimore and wants the closer role, he has to earn it.

He had a great last year. But I seem to remember this is the same guy in 2009 that got beat by Carlos Marmol becuase he had squat for control and got a lot of pedestrians hit by baseballs outside of Wrigley Field. In 2008, he led the majors in blown saves and losses in relief.

His resume does not warrant him demanding anything and it's not the kind of primadonna attitude the Orioles need around a young pitching staff. Thanks but no thanks unless there's a major attitude change.

Just say No to Gregg! The guy has never been a real shutdown guy, as anyone can see from his numbers, either as a closer or middle guy. Way too many runners per inning, due to his propensity to walk people. That compared to Koji, where we already have a strike thrower with high K's, low walks and low Whip. Let's move off of this guy and on to Balfour. Gregg is the epitome of what baseball has created in terms of when you give a guy a title. When you give a last inning guy the job, he sometimes gets entitled to think that he now can command more money no matter the success rate, just because "he's been there". Gregg is an overrated last inning pitcher who happens to be called a closer. I think we have 3-4 on the staff right now who would do just as well and Koji who is the best we have. Numbers over 7-8 years do not lie.

SORIANO!! He's the only true closer out there.

Please stop with the Blanton stuff. Do you guys really want to give up on guys like Bergeson and Arrietta to bring in an mid-level guy whose ERA in the AL east will be near 6? Just let it be.

As for Greinke - his Cy Young moment is behind him. I'll take the O's young starters and focus on finding some offense.

Tillman, Arrieta, Josh Bell and one other Double A type prospect for Zach Greinke. Quit over vauling our prospects and bring in a true ace.

Key Mike, Grienke is a good pitcher but I don't include Arietta in a trade for him. Tillman, Bell and a prospect or two but not Arietta...and not Britton.

I'll take Papelbon over Gregg anyday. And if Gregg is whining about wanting to be a closer only, I don't see Buck agreeing to that and I don't blame him. Not to sound cliche here but there's no I in team, Gregg. You're getting paid big bucks to pitch; you are not getting paid to tell the manager when and where you want to pitch.

And I say no to Blanton. I'd take Millwood back over Blanton.

It appears that Fuentes is going to either the Yanks or Sox so if Gregg goes elsewhere, we are down to the bottom of the barrel unless they go after Balfour.

Only way O's get Grienke is if Matusz is in that deal and he's the one pitcher that I would label as untouchable in the origination.

I still like Blanton because I think a guy who gives you a lot of innings is still a very good thing. The O's can absorb his contract without blinking so I do think they could get him for some low, low level prospect. I think the O's can count on Guthrie and Matusz, but you have to hope that Bergy pitches like he did at the end of the year and Arrieta doesn't falter which leaves Tillman as the 5th starter? There would be no room for error. I think Buck is right that a couple, not just one SP needs to brought to spring training. I didn't think Millwood would last the year with the O's, but I honestly think he will be on the staff in 2011 and that scares the hell out of me!

Squirrel-- You are "Nuts" thinking Grienke would ever consider coming here. You must have missed his statement: " He was described by one person recently as being "fed up" with the Royals after enduring one losing season after another since his major league debut in 2004" He also has veto power with a list of 15 teams. you really think he would come to Baltimore????

No to Blanton, yes to Gregg. Add a veteran starter/long reliever, 1 or 2 left handed relievers (Ohman and Hendrickson?), and a 1st baseman on a 1 year deal (assume 1 or 2 of our high minor league corner infielders will emerge later this year.) Yanks, Rays and Jays may all backslide. O's (if relatively healthy) contend for a wild card.

The title of this column sums it up best. O's few teams left in the mix for Gregg. It's because there are very bright people out there serving as GM's who know better and would never give this guy the kind of money being discussed and have already run away. They especially wouldn't commit the closer role to him. Too much of a track record here that if you'd have him as a Christmas ornament, the packaging would read, "DO NOT ALLOW NEEDLES TO TOUCH AS THIS ORNAMENT COULD COMBUST". Get the "needles" part I threw in there? Does anyone in B'more remember Don "Fullpack" Stanhouse? Well, need we say more? Grant Balfour, please address your Christmas Card to the O's and tell them you'd take $3mil for 2 yrs and an option, PLEASE!!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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