Jays Set to Sign FA RP Kevin Gregg


Although nothing has been made official yet, reports are coming out that Kevin Gregg is in fact going to sign a contract with the Blue Jays. It will be a 1-year deal worth 2.75 million initially, but that could grow to a reported 12 million amount over 2 years if the 2 options are picked up. Nothing was said about who controlled the options, so I can’t verify that information, but I’m also guessing that there are incentives built in for the number of saves and other performance markers. That would mean that Gregg can make an approximate average of 4.67 million over the last 2 years if he does stay with the Jays through 3 years.

I can describe this FA signing with one word: Genius. The reason it’s genius is that it does 3 things that helps the Jays out now and in the future:

  1. Taking Gregg off the FA market paints the Cubs into a corner by removing one of the guys available that they were looking at to strengthen their pen. In doing so, it heightens the chance they’ll come to the Jays looking for either Scott Downs or Jason Frasor, which in turn nets the Jays some good prospects;
  2. It lessens the stress on moving some of the Jays young RP like Daniel Farquhar and Tim Collins too quickly, allowing them to get at least 1/2 to 1 full year of development before being called upon; and
  3. Signing Gregg for 2.75 million, and the almost certain dealing of Downs who is set to make 4 million in 2010, should free up 1.25 million while hopefully netting the Jays 1 or 2 good young players or prospects.

I’m not a huge Gregg fan, nor do I believe he’ll be a better closer option than either Frasor or Downs, but I do believe he’ll be effective enough to make due until other options are available and that he’ll do well enough to not frustrate young pitchers by throwing away their good starts. I’ve avoided him in fantasy leagues due to his up-and-down stats, but he gets the job done most of the time which is what the Jays want out of the pen at this point. He’ll bring a veteran presence to the pen that was lacking a bit after BJ Ryan, which should help out a lot if the Jays do move other RP aggressively as expected.

Following this acquisition, if we add the fact that Jeremy Accardo should be able to make the pen in 2010 and that this could free up Frasor to be dealt, who is set to 2.65 million in comparison to Accardo’s 1.08 million, we can see that Alex is systematically lowering the amount of money for salaries in 2010. Could he use this money to sign someone like Johnny Damon for the 2010 season, or is he more likely to keep the saved money for the off season? I’m not exactly sure, but here’s what I can tell you about the Jays that nobody else is talking about – Cito Gaston and Alex Anthopoulos are not on the same page whatsoever.

While Cito is stating in his interviews with various news outlets that Frasor and Downs will battle it out for closing duties, Alex is letting it be know that both are on the block and that the Jays want to move them if the price is right. While Cito is pushing for 38 year old 1B Carlos Delgado to  be signed by Toronto, Alex is staying steadfast in saying that Brett Wallace is the 1B of the future for the Jays and that he doesn’t see himself blocking the position by signing a 1B, especially while they have various options in house. Even before all of these things took place, Cito was stuck looking at the present and hoped that the Jays would resign Marco Scutaro, hoped they would keep Rod Barajas (both times ignoring the possible returns in terms of draft pick compensation), that they’d keep Roy Halladay, and that they go out and grab a big bat to take a run at 2010. Do I blame him? Definitely not. Here’s a manager who is used to winning, wants to win more badly than anything, and this urge to win is even more acute since he knows it will be his last season as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

So what does this mean? Is it simply that Alex Anthopoulos is not communicating the strategy and plan to Cito Gaston? Or, is Cito simply not listening, putting the blinders on, and just crossing his fingers that Alex will get some of the tools he’s asking for to compete in 2010? I say it’s a combination of the two. We can’t truly believe that Alex would include Cito in the decision making process since he knows that he’ll be gone after 2010, and you have to believe that Cito wants to go out with a winning club at at least .500 or better and doesn’t want to see valuable pieces traded away or let go in the name of future winning seasons. My questions are these: will this continue all season? And will it be detrimental to the growth of young players due to lack of faith or enthusiasm in letting the grow? I’m hoping that I’m dead wrong, but I see both of these questions being answered with a big fat yes, and see an ugly John Gibbons style firing that will tarnish whatever is left of Cito’s great reputation as a Blue Jay, and it’s still a substantial legacy.

Here’s to hoping that Alex and Cito can communicate a little more during 2010 so that the Jays can truly develop the talent that Alex is bringing on board! Now, what’s next? Dealing for Starlin Castro? Signing Johnny Damon? Signing Will Ohman? We’ll see, but I’m sure it won’t be long before Alex makes another move, most likely dealing some RP for prospects.

I’ll be posting the top 5 second base prospects for the Jays going into 2010 tomorrow, so check it out then!