Marlins get a steal for Gregg

November, 13, 2008
Getting Jose Ceda for one year of Kevin Gregg is a heist for Florida, and could really end up as a disaster for the Cubs, given how they intend to realign their pen.

The Cubs say they're going to move Carlos Marmol into the closer role, removing him from the seventh-eighth inning role where Lou Piniella was willing to stretch him out to get more than three outs in a single appearance. It also increases the chance that Marmol will be wasted in save situations where the Cubs have a three-run lead (that is, a relatively low-leverage save situation).

They may use Gregg in the setup role, even though there's not much reason to anticipate he'll be more than a middle reliever in performance. Gregg has an average arsenal, sinker-slider-split, and other than occasionally running the fastball up to 94 doesn't have a plus pitch. His control is below-average, with 72 unintentional walks over the last two years in 152 innings, and only a fluky-low home run rate in 2008 kept his ERA under 4. He's not quite Antonio Alfonseca redux, but he's no replacement for Kerry Wood, either.

The Marlins, meanwhile, have picked up another free arm for a player they simply didn't want or need for 2009, and this arm is very good. Ceda sits in the mid-90s with a sharp slider with hard diving action, and he has a good track record of missing bats in the minors, including 42 strikeouts in 30 AA innings this year. His stuff would play in the majors right now, and the Marlins aren't afraid to promote guys with big velocity quickly.

You don't give arms like Ceda away for one year of a middle reliever's time. Nothing is guaranteed with pitchers and especially not with pitching prospects, but I could see Gregg posting a 4.50 ERA and leaving as a free agent while Ceda becomes a star reliever in Florida for the next six years.


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