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.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.