Orioles would eat Kevin Gregg’s salary to make him go away

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Baltimore has spent the offseason adding veteran relievers and in the process have pushed last season’s primary closer, Kevin Gregg, into a low-leverage role.

Not surprisingly the Orioles are interesting in trading Gregg, who’s owed $5.8 million this season, and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that “they’d eat a chunk” of salary to facilitate a move.

Gregg has racked up 144 career saves without ever being a particularly good fit at closer, and in fact his 4.07 ERA is the second-highest among all active pitchers with at least 100 career saves ahead of only Danys Baez (4.25). No one else is above 3.75. And that includes a 4.37 ERA and 53/40 K/BB ratio in 60 innings last season.

With that said, if the Orioles are willing to eat, say, $3.8 million of his $4.8 million salary and would accept a low-level prospect in return Gregg could help possibly some teams as a veteran middle reliever.

Red Sox beat Yankees 11-6 to clinch AL East for third consecutive season

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The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.

AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.