Kevin Gregg’s latest ugly outing, in which he allowed three runs while recording one out, inflated his ERA to 12.27 and caused our own Matthew Pouliot to wonder how much longer the Orioles can possibly stick with the veteran right-hander.
Buck Showalter was asked exactly that by Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com and the manager replied:
I can’t sit here and say nonchalantly that there’s not something to it. But Kevin’s pitched in different roles in his career, I know Kevin and he just wants to contribute and do whatever, we’ve talked about this and I think you will see him get better as we go on.
Showalter is seemingly saying that because Gregg has been used as a closer in the past that’s causing him to struggle in a non-closer role, which is especially silly considering Gregg has always been mediocre regardless of his role and was never well suited for the closer job in the first place.
Gregg saved 20-plus games in five straight seasons prior to this year and in those five seasons he posted a 3.89 ERA with 4.7 walks per nine innings and a homer every 10 frames. That includes a 4.37 ERA and nearly as many walks (40) as strikeouts (53) in 60 innings last season, which along with the fact that Gregg is 34 years old provides a pretty simple explanation for his struggles.
Gregg was stripped of closing duties because he pitched poorly and now he’s pitching very poorly in a non-closer role. If not for his still being owed $6 million as part of a misguided two-year, $12 million deal the Orioles probably would have gotten rid of Gregg already.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.