The Orioles tried to trade Kevin Gregg over the winter and in spring training. He was available at the non-waiver deadline. They couldn’t strike a deal, continued to use him sporadically and finally had to designate him for assignment today to create room on the 40-man roster.
Signed to a two-year, $10 million contract with a $6 million team option for 2013, Gregg failed to hold onto the closer’s job after converting 22 of 29 save opportunities last season. He never had a defined role this season, often going long stretches without pitching, and became a victim of the bullpen’s depth.
For example, Gregg pitched on April 18 and didn’t make another appearance until April 27. His next outing came on May 5.
Here are a few other pronounced gaps in games: May 6-13, May 21-28, June 1-7, June 18-26, Aug. 1-7, Aug. 9-16, Aug. 29-Sept. 4, and Sept. 4-9.
Gregg went 3-2 with a 4.74 ERA in 40 appearances, with 49 hits allowed, 24 walks and 37 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings. He gave up 11 runs in his final 10 games.
“I know Kevin deserves an opportunity to pitch more consistently,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Talked to him on Sunday after the game. It’s been a tough go for Kevin. He’s been very professional about it, well-respected. Because of the consistency he needs to pitch in order to pitch as well as he’s capable of, it probably wasn’t going to be there for him the rest of the year. I don’t want to say we’re trying to do him a favor, but we’ll see what the next five or six days bring, if he can get someplace where he can get the ball on a consistent basis and present himself as a good option he will be next season for some team.
“He’s pitched some good innings for us this year. His ERA was under 4.00 for most of the year. And I think it has as much to do with his inactivity. Someone’s got a chance to get a guy ... plus a change of scenery and a change of everything. Kevin’s had a long string of contributions to a major league club and will again. Just trying to be fair to him. Plus, we needed the roster spot. Hopefully, it will work out for him. I think it will. I think a change of scenery, getting the ball every day or every other day, is going to really help him.”
Gregg emerged as the leader of the bullpen from his first days in the organization. Young pitchers sought him out for advice, or he would offer counseling when he sensed it was needed. The Orioles appreciated that quality.
“We just feel like we’ve got some options down there that can potentially offset the loss of Kevin,” Showalter said. “He’s made a contribution on and off the field to our guys and our team. That will be missed.”
The timing is difficult for both sides, with the Orioles in the playoff hunt and Gregg unable to see it through.
“Dan (Duquette) talked to he and his agent today and I talked to Kevin (on) Sunday night, just talking about a lot of different things,” Showalter said. “That exactly did not come up, but we did talk a lot about next year and a far-ranging group of subjects. When we didn’t like some of the things (outfielders) that were out there, we knew that we going to need the two roster spots. Kind of came to fruition. But it’s going to work out for Kevin.
“It’s never pleasant. It’s a lot less pleasant for him. But it’ll work out in the long run for him. I feel confident of that.”