It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, mostly outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.
Gregg, 35 on Opening Day 2014, was the Cubs’ closer for most of 2013, racking up 33 saves in 38 opportunities with a 3.48 ERA, his highest K/9 IP since 2010 and his lowest BB/9 IP since 2010 as well. Not coincidentally, 2010 was the last year FanGraphs rated Gregg as an above-replacement-level pitcher. While fWAR may not be one of the best tools to measure performance by a reliever, it is worth noting that Gregg, since 2011, Gregg was the 155th most valuable reliever out of 160, sitting firmly in-between Phillies fan favorite Chad Qualls (153) and another Phillies fan favorite Chad Durbin (160).
Among the 160 eligible relievers from 2011 to 2013, Gregg was the fourth most-likely to issue a walk, the 28th most likely to surrender a homer, had the 16th-worst ERA, the fourth-worst FIP, and fifth-worst xFIP. Gregg’s 39.9% groundball rate would play horribly in Citizens Bank Park and his 90 MPH fastball, down two MPH since 2010, is becoming increasingly easier to hit.
As mentioned when talking about Joe Nathan, Jose Veras, Grant Balfour, Joe Smith, Pat Neshek, and others, the Phillies’ bullpen was ranked 14th out of 15th in ERA, FIP, and xFIP in the National League last season and there are not a ton of promising bullpen arms that the Phillies haven’t yet seen in the Majors. Unlike Neshek Smith, and Veras, Gregg is a veteran who seemingly has run out of gas and is now among the worst bullpen arms in the Majors. He is not a good fit, even for a team who is starving for bullpen arms.
Gregg was omitted from the FanGraphs Top 47 and MLB Trade Rumors Top 50 Free Agents. His name has come up as a potential relief target for teams looking for help, due mainly to his pedigree. Because of his track record (i.e. saves and nothing more), he will likely receive between $1-1.5 million a year.
This is a Ruben Amaro landmine special: veteran player, with a “proven track record” (sarcasm intended), who will come cheaply. If I were a MythBuster trying to predict what Amaro would do, this one is “Plausible”.
Verdict: PASS, PASS, PASS
This is the strongest pass, by far. Gregg is no longer a Major League-caliber pitcher and should be avoided by the Phillies.