Baltimore has spent the offseason adding veteran relievers and in the process have pushed last season’s primary closer, Kevin Gregg, into a low-leverage role.
Not surprisingly the Orioles are interesting in trading Gregg, who’s owed $5.8 million this season, and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that “they’d eat a chunk” of salary to facilitate a move.
Gregg has racked up 144 career saves without ever being a particularly good fit at closer, and in fact his 4.07 ERA is the second-highest among all active pitchers with at least 100 career saves ahead of only Danys Baez (4.25). No one else is above 3.75. And that includes a 4.37 ERA and 53/40 K/BB ratio in 60 innings last season.
With that said, if the Orioles are willing to eat, say, $3.8 million of his $4.8 million salary and would accept a low-level prospect in return Gregg could help possibly some teams as a veteran middle reliever.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.