The Marlins have been cornering the market on remaining free agent relievers. Yesterday it seems they came to terms with Seth McClung, who may have been one of the worst relievers in the market. And now it seems the Marlins are interested in an offer for Kevin Gregg (h/t Hot Stove), he of the former Marlins closer variety. I don’t think I need to expand too much, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say “Pass.”
As Dave Cameron of FanGraphs mentioned in this old article, Gregg has always been someone who benefited from being called a closer. He has a career FIP of 4.00, and in the three seasons prior to being dealt to the Chicago Cubs, he had held a FIP of around 3.85. Basically, he’s your middle of the pack middle reliever. Having said that, a guy with a 3.85 FIP would look pretty good in our bullpen now, and would probably be our best reliever.
Gregg’s numbers, however, shot up in his last season with Chicago. However, his K’s and BB’s were about as normal as ever (24.0% K%, 9.5% UIBB% in 2009, off of career totals of 21.4% and 8.9% respectively). So why did he have a massive 4.93 FIP? Well, you can tell that his home runs were a problem. Gregg allowed 13 home runs last season, leading to a pretty hefty 15.3% HR/FB%. But we know that he pitched half of his games (presumably) in Wrigley Field, and the wind can play quite a few tricks on the old fly ball. What does HitTracker say about his homers?
Correcting for various factors, particularly wind, those are the supposed “true” landing spots for Gregg’s homers. The pertinent thing to see here are the ones from the right side, over to left field. If you were to imagine the overlay of Sun Life Stadium (I know, I can’t get used to it either) on the picture, you would see that a few of the “Just Enough” home runs would probably hit a wall in Florida, resulting in doubles. I’d estimate at least three of those shots would not be homers in Florida, but it doesn’t mean that they would not be hard hit balls here or anywhere else. Gregg might have benefited a lot from the more spacious dimensions of the Marlins’ home stadium, but it seems like he’s still getting hit hard. Gregg’s no ground ball pitcher either (career GB% of around 38.0%), so this is not anything new.
All in all, what can we expect? CHONE has him at a FIP of 4.32. You could probably drop that a bit, but it would be a moot point; the addition would add very little above the options we currently have. Could you expect 0.2-0.3 WAR, like I projected earlier last week? Sure. Would that be worth the $1M we would spend on him? Over a replacement level player, perhaps, but I’m sure we have better options than that. And of course, Gregg is sort of persona non grata around these parts anyway, so it would be a wonder if the Marlins would bring him back. So when friend of the Maniac Juan C. Rodriguez states that a Gregg return is unlikely, the guts and minds of the fans can feel happy.