Diamondbacks’ Free Agent Target: Luke Gregerson
By Thomas Lynch
Luke Gregerson might be a good fit for the D’backs. Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Much of the conversation for the needs of the Arizona Diamondbacks have revolved around starting pitching. While it is clearly the team’s biggest weakness, the team should not neglect its bullpen. Brad Ziegler is coming off microfracture surgery, a tough procedure to recover quickly from, particularly if you are 35. While there are other pieces in place such as Addison Reed, Oliver Perez and Evan Marshall, the Snakes figure to use the bullpen quite often. Why not make it a strength by signing Luke Gregerson?
Background: The right-handed Gregerson was taken in the 28th round of the 2006 Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was sent to the San Diego Padres in March 2009 as the player to be named later in a trade that sent shortstop Khalil Greene to St. Louis. He has since gone on to become one of the premier setup men in all of baseball. In five seasons with the Padres, Gregerson appeared in 363 games, (an average of 72) logging 347 innings to the tune of a 2.88 ERA. He allowed only 272 hits and 107 walks while striking out 352.
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2014 season: He was traded by the Padres to the Oakland A’s for outfielder Seth Smith last December 3rd. Thrust into a playoff race for the first time since 2009, Gregerson did not disappoint. He went 5-5 with a career-low 2.12 ERA in 72 games. Unlike most of the A’s who collapsed in the second half, Gregerson held his own. He was unscored upon in 26 of his final 30 appearances.
Will the D’backs sign him? Considering Arizona will be paying Ziegler $5 million this year and Reed is due a raise that will bring his salary to somewhere around $3 million, it is hard to envision them going after a third pricey reliever. Gregerson made a little over $5 million last year and will command a multi-year deal for at least that amount per season. Plus, young relievers Matt Stites, who was with the D’backs last year and Jake Barrett could be fixtures in 2016. Still, the team ought to at least have a conversation with Gregerson. Most of the rotation members won’t go late into games and having a deep bullpen is a necessity for this club.