Kevin Gregg went from closer to out of work reliever in a hurry and now the 34-year-old right-hander has signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers.
He’ll get an invitation to spring training, although the Dodgers’ bullpen is already pretty crowded and they also recently added Mark Lowe on a minor-league contract.
Gregg was never particularly well-suited to be a closer, racking up 143 saves from 2007-2011 despite an unimpressive 3.89 ERA and 4.7 walks per nine innings. He had a 4.95 ERA in 44 innings for the Orioles last season before getting released shortly before the playoffs.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.