Predictably none of the other 29 teams wanted anything to do with Kevin Gregg’s remaining contract, even for just a few weeks of salary, so the Orioles released the veteran reliever after designating him for assignment Tuesday.
Gregg produced a 4.53 ERA and 64 walks in 103 innings for the Orioles on a two-year, $10 million contract and at age 34 will likely have to settle for a modest one-year deal as a middle reliever for 2013.
He’s had a sub-4.00 ERA just three times in nine full seasons and has a career mark of 4.11, yet has saved 144 games and earned more than $20 million. Getting that “proven closer” label is a helluva thing.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.