What happened. The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to terms with right handed pitcher Luke Gregerson on a 2 year, $11 million deal that has a vesting third year option. The deal is pending a physical, which is expected to be performed on Tuesday.
The story. The Cardinals have been looking to add a couple of relievers to their bullpen and complete their first addition of the winter with the signing of Gregerson on the eve of the winter meetings.
The numbers. Gregerson, 33, has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball over his career with a 3.02 ERA in nine Major League seasons. Unfortunately, his 2017 season represented his career worst season. The former Cardinals’ draft pick posted a 4.57 ERA last year over 61 innings for the Houston Astros. It wasn’t just a bad start that doomed him, he had a 5.33 ERA in the second half of the season. To top it off, Gregerson threw just 3.2 innings during the 2017 postseason while the Astros bullpen struggled. All of those innings were mop up work.
The impact. 6/10. The addition of Gregerson is intended to be one of the Cardinals’ late inning arms. Three years ago, I’d have been all over this signing. Today, I am unimpressed by it.
On paper, Gregerson can check a lot of boxes. He’s been a very good reliever in the past. He’s a veteran voice out there, which is something the Cardinals have liked to have. And he has closing experience, notching 46 saves in about a year and a half as the Astros closer a couple years ago.
The fear for me with this signing is that Gregerson will struggle as he did last year. I understand that relief work is a little more up and down, but Gregerson had been consistently dominant over his previous eight seasons. Maybe it’s just bad memories of Jonathan Broxton finding his way into games he had no business being in purely because he was the veteran reliever in the bullpen and I’m projecting. Maybe I’m not.
It is just the first signing as the club hopes to add another arm to the bullpen, most likely the established closer they seek. They’ve talked with Tampa about Alex Colome and they’d been linked with interest in Greg Holland before the offseason began. Perhaps we’ll see some action and the club’s offseason start moving this week as Giancarlo Stanton has finally been traded and teams start working on their next options.