Kevin Gregg

Gordon Wittenmyer's tweets that the Cubs will go with Carlos Marmol as closer...as expected. It's like choosing your death by slowing draining the blood out of your body versus stepping on a landmine. Good luck with that Cubs...

Ryan Theriot is back tonight....and the great scrap-off of '09 can commence between him and David Eckstein, who scrapped out a the tying run with that walk in the 9th. Theriot, Bradley, Lee, Ramirez, Fukudome, Soriano, Baker, Soto and Dempster go for the Cubs.

Kevin Gregg has been relieved of closing duties according to Lou Piniella.

"I think we're going to make some changes as far as what we're going to
do in late innings," Piniella said. "We'll have some more tomorrow."

That "more" will either be Carlos Marmol or Angel Guzman most likely, and I'm sure Lou will go with experience and name Marmol the new closer. Instead of losing by home runs, it'll be by walking in runs. I know I feel better.

The Cardinals won last night leaving the Cubs six back in the division. You might as well kiss that train good-bye. Never say never and all, but it would take a NY Mets-like collapse at this point and I don't see it happening. Of course, I doubt the Mets did either. The Braves and Giants won and the Cubs dropped a half game to the idol Rockies leaving them four back and in 5th place in the wild card. What's the August equivelant of June Swoon? August Ambivelance?

I watched just two innings of last night's affair, tuning in as Micah Hoffpauir gave the Cubs the lead and turning it off right before Ryan Raburn's ball landed. The saying goes something like "a picture is worth a thousand words"...well here's my word quota for the night.

 

Not the way to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Sandberg Game.

Torii Hunter crushed a lead-off first-pitch home run to ignite a seven-run 4th inning, propelling the Angels to an 8-4 victory over the Cubs at Ho Ho Kam Park this afternoon in Mesa, as the Cubs set an all-time single-season Cactus League attendance record. (It probably helped that the 2009 Cactus League season was extended by a week and a few extra home games to accomodate the WBC).   

box score

Gordon Wittenmyer "tweets" that Kevin Gregg has been named the Cubs closer to start the season. While everyone that owns Carlos Marmol in their fantasy league throws their mouse across the room, it's probably the best move for the Cubs...for now. A few blown saves by Gregg and I doubt that Lou will hesitate to flip roles.

The Indians roll into Mesa today with Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood in tow and here's the Cubs' lineup from Muskrat.

LF Alfonso Soriano, SS Ryan Theriot, 1B Derrek Lee, RF Milton Bradley,
3B Aramis Ramirez, 2B Mike Fontenot, C Geovany Soto, CF Joey Gathright
and P Ted Lilly.

Cubs Manager Lou Pniella generally prefers to delegate pitching matters to his pitching coach (that would be Larry Rothschild), but one aspect of the pitching staff Uncle Lou believes he understands is how to get his bullpen ready for Opening Day.

And a big part of this preparation is Piniella's belief that each of his relievers need to throw on back-to-back days once or twice during the last ten days of Spring Training, and each reliever needs to throw two innings one time, too.   

That's where Minor League Spring Training games can really come in handy. 

While Ryan Dempster, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells, and Kevin Hart made the two-hour bus trip to Tucson to pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Hi Corbett Field, Kevin Gregg, Chad Fox, and Luis Vizcaino took the 20-minute van ride to the Papago Park Baseball Complex in Phoenix (a former WWII POW Camp) to get their work in versus the Oakland A's AAA squad in a minor league game.      

I recently purchased a copy of the Bill James Handbook 2009...I know, a little late to the party...but it does a great job of presenting information that isn't readily available, information I'll pass along as they become relevant throughout the season. I'm also going to get a subscription to BillJames.net to update everyone as the season progresses.

But thumbing through the book they have all kinds of stats on relievers and let's see if any of it will help Lou pick his closer on the year.

Today is the day when contracts are tendered to players on MLB Reserve Lists who are unsigned for 2009.

UPDATE: The Miami Herald says it's for 4-star prospect Jose Ceda. Shiite. Too much, way, way too much. And since Ceda was one of the possible names going to San Diego for Jake Peavy, you have to think that ship is about to sail.

Double check my work if you wish, but I believe Gregg is set to be a free agent after 2009 and is arbitration eligible for this year. He made $2.5M last year.


 

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Cubs have acquired Marlins relief pitcher Kevin Gregg. The 30-year old pitcher was the Marlins closer for the better part of two seasons racking up 61 saves and ERA's of 3.54 and 3.41 respectively. He strikes out nearly a batter per inning but walks a few too many guys for my tastes. I'm sure the first reaction will be that Kerry Wood is definitely a goner, but my guess is that it's just a possible back-up plan as Gregg could certainly slide into a set-up role. Even if Wood goes, I'd rather see Carlos Marmol in the closer role.

Of course, whenever a Cubs trade goes down, the first question is who do the Cubs get and the second question is what did they give up? Rosenthal don't have the answer on the second part yet, but I'll update as soon as someone finds out.

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