It’s unclear why the Reds used 37-year-old Kevin Gregg in late-inning, high-leverage situations for most of the season, but they’ve come to their senses and designated him for assignment.
Better late than never, but before being dropped Gregg went 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA in 11 appearances, allowing 12 runs in 10.2 innings spent mostly as a setup man for Aroldis Chapman.
Gregg also had a 10.00 ERA in 12 appearances for the Marlins last season, so this could be the end of the line for the right-hander after 13 seasons, 177 saves, and a 4.24 ERA for six different teams.
Oft-injured right-hander Felipe Paulino, who spent most of last season on the White Sox’s disabled list after signing a $1.75 million deal, has signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs.
Paulino was previously cut loose by the Red Sox this spring and is just now finding another Triple-A gig at age 31.
When healthy Paulino has very good raw stuff and has shown flashes of potential, mostly for the Royals in 2011 and 2012. However, his career ERA is 5.22 in 404 innings despite 373 strikeouts because he’s struggled to consistently throw strikes, given up too many homers, and been hurt about half the time.
Despite striking out 120 batters in 110 innings as a 24-year-old last season the Indians sent Danny Salazar to Triple-A at the end of spring training. They quickly realized their mistake, calling him back up two weeks into the season, and he’s been dominant ever since.
Sunday afternoon Salazar gave up a leadoff home run to Brian Dozier and then retired 21 consecutive Twins hitters on the way to seven innings of one-run, one-hit ball with 11 strikeouts and zero walks against one of the hottest-hitting lineups in baseball. For the season he has a 3.27 ERA and 48/5 K/BB ratio in 33 innings, which is incredible.
At age 25 he has a a 3.78 ERA with 233 strikeouts in 195 career innings, for a rate of 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Among all active starters that ranks as the highest strikeout rate through age 25:
Danny Salazar 10.8
Yu Darvish 10.4
Stephen Strasburg 10.3
Jose Fernandez 10.3
Tim Lincecum 10.2
Decent company to keep.
Control was always an issue for Salazar, but of late he’s been pounding the strike zone, trusting his top-notch raw stuff, and relying more and more on a split-finger changeup that induces tons of swinging strikes. And he’s emerging as a 25-year-old ace. Not bad for a guy the Indians deemed not worthy of cracking the Opening Day rotation for a team that currently has the second-worst ERA and worst record in the league.