Link-O-Rama: Kevin Gregg will get nothing and like it

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* Impending free agent Kevin Gregg said yesterday that he’d like to re-sign with the Cubs and be a closer again in 2010. Neither will happen. During the past three seasons Gregg has blown 20 of 104 save chances while losing 19 games and posting a 3.86 ERA. He’s a second-tier setup man, at best.
* Admittedly he’s pretty far down on the Mets’ laundry list of problems this season, but for $8.5 million and a $2 million signing bonus Francisco Rodriguez has allowed 34 runs in 68 innings while blowing seven saves in 41 chances. Of course, unlike Gregg he’s in no danger of being stripped of closer duties thanks to being owed $11.5 million in 2010, $11.5 million in 2011, and $17.5 million or a $3.5 million buyout in 2012. Yeesh.
* Brad Penny tossed a complete-game shutout yesterday, so his final tally after returning to the NL is 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six starts. His totals in the AL were 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 24 starts. Chances that Penny chooses to sign with an NL team as a free agent this winter: 99.9 percent, with the other 0.1 percent reserved for Japan, Triple-A, or retirement.
* Last night’s complete-game shutout of Pawtucket Boston gives Roy Halladay a 2.97 ERA in 12 starts since the trading deadline came and went with him remaining in Toronto. For comparison, Cliff Lee has a 3.28 ERA in 11 starts with the Phillies.
* Ichiro Suzuki has already locked up his ninth straight 200-hit season, but barring one of the greatest four-game stretches in baseball history he’s going to score fewer than 100 runs for the first time.
* If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video of Matt Diaz’s indecisive baserunning basically ending the Braves’ season. Diaz has hit .319/.390/.488 in 425 plate appearances, but something tells me that most fans thinking back to this season won’t remember his hitting.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.