Word came down yesterday that the Cubs were considering releasing Kevin Gregg after he voiced his displeasure to the media about being removed from the closer role. However, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that he will remain with the club after Cubs president Theo Epstein accepted his apology this morning.
It appears that the kerfuffle was rooted in miscommunication, as Epstein said yesterday that Gregg wasn’t going to be permanently removed from the closer role, but that they wanted to give the younger Pedro Strop a couple of looks down the stretch. This is a lot of talk about save chances for a 64-90 team who has just one week left in the season, but here we are.
Gregg, 35, has a 3.45 ERA, 32 saves, and a 50/32 K/BB ratio over 60 innings this season. He will be a free agent after the season.
Rian Watt of Baseball Prospectus is hearing that a trade that would send Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs involves prospect Gleyber Torres and more going to the Yankees. He adds that the holdup in the trade talks is centered around a contract extension for Chapman, believed to be around four years in length and $60 million total. The deal may not be finalized if the Cubs don’t get him signed to an extension they like. In Watt’s words, “Package is set. Extension is not.”
We learned earlier on Sunday that the Yankees were working hard to trade Chapman, reportedly in contact with at least four teams. The Cubs were not believed to be the front runners but certainly upped the ante by offering Torres.
Torres, 19, is rated the Cubs’ #1 prospect and #24 overall in baseball by MLB Pipeline. The shortstop has spent the season with Single-A Myrtle Beach, batting .275/.359/.433 with nine home runs, 47 RBI, 62 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 409 plate appearances.
Torres is currently roadblocked at shortstop by Addison Russell, and 21-year-old Ian Happ is rated #3 in the Cubs’ system, so the club would be dealing from surplus.
Prior to Sunday afternoon’s game against the Mariners, the Blue Jays designated reliever Drew Storen for assignment and recalled reliever Ryan Tepera from Triple-A Buffalo.
Storen, 28, had a nightmare of a time with the Jays, leaving with a 6.21 ERA and a 32/10 K/BB ratio over 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him in January from the Nationals in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Storen is owed the remainder of his $8.375 million salary, which makes it likelier that the right-hander will pass through waivers unclaimed. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the season.