Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
For those of you who didn’t notice, good old Kevin Gregg is back with the Cubs again. Wednesday, manager Dale Sveum named Gregg the team’s closer, and I’m really not sure that there is any really good reason as to why this happened. I get that the Cubs new direction is to win with a small market budget by developing a quality roster through the draft and shrewd trades. But this move seems to be a step backwards instead of forwards. I have never heard of a GM who said to himself, “You know, all we need is one more pitcher to really lock down our bullpen. I know…let’s get Kevin Gregg!” Any GM who said this aloud should be fired on the spot.
Kevin Gregg has played for six different teams in the last eight seasons. Gregg also had a nine year stint in the minor leagues, with much of that time divided between single A and double A. He never made the big club while he was in the Oakland A’s organization (and if Billy Beane doesn’t think a pitcher can get it done at the big league level…that should be a huge red flag!) Gregg also spent time in the Los Angeles Angels’ minor league system before finally getting a shot with the big club in ’03. But of course, by ’06 he was back in triple A.
What can we deduce from all of this? Simple, Gregg has had to scratch and claw for any advancement in baseball…which signifies two things: 1) he’s got heart and 2) he’s really not that good, maybe a journeyman player at best. I’m sorry, but I think the Cubs are barking up the wrong tree here. I thought they learned this in ’09 when Gregg was blowing saves with feverish efficiency with the Cubs the first time. But I suppose new regimes must learn for themselves.
That said, I think the lesson to be learned at the least is this: if a player was horrible for you once, don’t give him the opportunity to be horrible for you again. In ’09, Gregg was 5-6 with a 4.72 ERA and recorded 23 saves. While appearing in 72 games he gave up 38 runs and 13 home runs while walking 30 batters. You can get away with that kind of crap in the seventh inning, but in the ninth inning your goal is to shut down a rally…not start one for the other team. (Thank you cubs.com for the stats by the way)
Now, let’s not pretend that the Cubs really had any better options. Fujikawa showed some promise before landing on the DL with a forearm strain (he was added back to the roster today if you care). Carlos Marmol is an absolute nightmare when he takes the mound in any situation and should probably be released since no one is willing to give anything for him in a trade. So it appears to me, a humble fan, that the Cubs might as well surrender the season and make a few cuts. If they are interested in just handing over games in the ninth inning, then surely there are cheaper ways to do so. Remember, they want to operate as if they were a small market team.
So where are the Cubs to find a closer for cheap? I challenge them to look no further than the computer keyboard where this peach of a blog post was composed. That’s right ladies and gentlemen…I volunteer as tribute for all of us starving Cubs fans!
I mean come on, it’s pretty clear that the Cubs are just looking for a guy to throw batting practice to opposing teams when the game is on the line, so they might as well do me a solid and pay me the league minimum so they can save some cash! I can take the fans booing me, I can handle the media, and I can even take beer being thrown at me while warming up in the bullpen. All the Cubs have to do is use the money they saved in signing me to sign a decent closer for next season…and give me number 47. There you have it Mr. Epstein, have your people call my people and let’s get a deal done!