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Jon Morosi: Orioles agree with Kevin Gregg


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Wrong, at least a little. Rivera is a one-pitch pitcher who rarely faces more than 4 or 5 pitchers, at most. So the role he pitches in - one inning at the end of the game - plays a huge role in his success. He could probably would not be a successful starter if he had to go 5-7 innings and face batters multiple times in a game, as an example.

But, he is great at getting 3 quick outs at the end of games. That is how his talent translates. And, that talent really is specific to the role he pitches in.

I don't think the post was referencing starting as much as it the inning doesn't matter when Rivera would pitch.

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The Orioles just finished upgrading the infield with the addition of 1B Derrek Lee and have now turned their attention to the bullpen. RHP Koji Uehara was re-signed last month and now Gregg joins him, Mike Gonzalez, and Jim Johnson as late inning relievers. The O’s needed him after trading David Hernandez and other potential bullpen options (Kam Mickolio, Jim Hoey, Brett Jacobson) for 3B Mark Reynolds and SS JJ Hardy and with the uncertainty surrounding Alfredo Simon. Gregg saved 37 games for the Blue Jays in 2010 with a 3.51 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 59 innings. He also walked 30 batters. I think he can help the bullpen as hes been durable over his career and hes fairly consistent for a reliever. Hes saved at least 23 games in each of the last four seasons, spanning three teams. I don’t think saves are a great indication of talent but he also averaged a mid threes ERA and solid strikeout rates over that span. He walks alot of batters so him and Gonzalez could be frustrating to watch at times, which is why I would have Koji as our closer to start the season.

The contract is a little high on the salary side, MacPhail is paying for those saves a bit, but I don’t mind the two years. Hes 32 years old so even with a slight decline we should expect an ERA slightly below or above four with at least an 8 K/9. The vesting option I’m leery of. Hopefully we don’t use him as the closer in 2012 so theres not as much of a chance that the option vests and we can let him sign elsewhere while obtaining a compensation draft pick. The best thing might be that we don’t have to give up a pick for signing him, which would’ve been the case had we got Grant Balfour or Rafael Soriano. A team in our position shouldn’t be giving up draft picks for middle of the road relievers. For 2011 at least, it makes us a better team. The bullpen is starting to come together now. We have Gregg, Uehara, Gonzalez, and Johnson for the back end and Jason Berken, Jeremy Accardo, Rick VandenHurk, Adrian Rosario, and any other relievers signed will battle in spring training for the other three spots. Reports indicate the Orioles would still like to add a left handed reliever, maybe a Will Ohman reuinion? I’d prefer someone else because I think he had a bit of luck in his performance last season but it wouldn’t be the worst signing. MacPhail also wants to add a veteran starting pitcher and a bench player that can hit. As we get closer and closer to spring training the roster is coming together and I’m happy with how its looking.


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I don't think the post was referencing starting as much as it the inning doesn't matter when Rivera would pitch.

I understand. But, you don't generally bring a pitcher in for one inning in the 3rd. You do that with closers. In Rivera's case his talent is uniquely fitted to the role of closer and the role is uniquely fitted to his talent. He could pitch the way he does in the 7th or 8th, but the way the game is played today (thank you Tony LaRussa), he's going to be used in the ninth.

My point is that his lack of talent in throwing anything other than a cut fastball, although very well, limits him to the role of short relief specialist. His exceptional ability to throw that one pitch particularly suits the role of closer.

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Why? It already values each inning they pitch more than the innings of starters. Are you saying the leverage indexed performances still undersell their value?

I don't really have a rational explanation for it. Just when I see the WAR totals for some of the best relievers, I'm a bit skeptical. If I looked deeper into it, I might could come up with a better explanation.

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