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Reports: Cardinals sign Luke Gregerson to two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cardinals have signed free agent reliever Luke Gregerson to a two-year deal worth $11 million. The deal, which is pending a physical, also includes a vesting option for the 2020 season. According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, Gregerson will earn $5 million each season and will earn another $1 million if his buyout clause is exercised.

Gregerson, 33, spent the last three seasons with the Astros, culminating in a championship in 2017. During the regular season, he posted a 4.57 ERA with a 70/20 K/BB ratio in 61 innings. He didn’t allow a run in 3 2/3 innings across five appearances in the postseason.

Peripherals suggest Gregerson could have a bounce-back year in 2018, if one believes his home run rate — 13 allowed in 55 total fly balls, or 23.6 percent — to be a fluke. The right-hander’s strikeout rates the past two seasons — 29.1 percent and 26.6 percent — have been his highest since his first two seasons in the majors.

Now that the Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani situations have been settled, we’re likely to see a lot of free agent dominoes start to fall, especially with the winter meetings getting under way.

Cincinnati Reds fire Bryan Price

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.

It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.

Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).” 

Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.

Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.