Blue Jays make closer Kevin Gregg 'available' in trade talks

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Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that the Blue Jays have made Kevin Gregg “available” for a possible trade, which is noteworthy mostly because he ranks fourth in the league with 20 saves.
However, if you look beyond the closer label Gregg is basically just a run-of-the-mill middle reliever and it seems unlikely that any contending team would acquire him to pitch the ninth inning anyway.
Gregg has a 3.67 ERA in 34.1 innings this season after posting a 4.72 ERA in 68.2 innings for the Cubs last year, and he’s 19-28 with a 4.00 ERA in 468 career innings as a reliever. Gregg throws hard and racks up plenty of strikeouts, but his control is spotty and he has a tendency to serve up homers in key spots, averaging one long ball per 10 innings.
Plus, he drew such little interest as a free agent this offseason that the Blue Jays were able to sign him to a one-year, $2.75 million contract and nothing has really changed since then. If the Blue Jays can get a mid-level prospect for him, they’d be smart to unload Gregg and be thankful not everyone has stopped overvaluing saves.

Kris Bryant wants to be Cubs’ player rep, vows to “fight” for next collective bargaining agreement

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”

As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”

It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.