Gregg the latest closer to move

November, 13, 2008

Another day, another shakeup in the closer ranks as the Marlins shipped Kevin Gregg to the Cubs for minor league pitcher Jose Ceda. It's another salary off the books for the rebuilding Marlins, while the Cubs add another arm to an intriguing bullpen for 2009.

Kevin GreggRob Grabowski/US PresswireKevin Gregg was 29 of 38 on save chances in 2008.
Gregg recorded 61 saves over the past two seasons for the Marlins, although he regressed a bit in 2008, blowing nine save chances while walking 37 and striking out 58 in 68 2/3 innings. A knee injury hampered him late in the season, and he didn't record a save after Aug. 24, ceding the closer's job to Matt Lindstrom in September. Gregg underwent knee surgery right after the season but should be ready for spring training.

However, Gregg is in no way assured of any saves for the Cubs, although the move may go a long way in shaping Chicago's offseason strategy to build the bullpen. Incumbent closer Kerry Wood is a free agent and there's a good chance he might not return. Thus, much-hyped Carlos Marmol likely fills Chicago's void at closer (and becomes a highly coveted player in drafts next spring), while Gregg battles Jeff Samardzija for the right to take over Marmol's job as a late-inning setup man. It makes Gregg a potential handcuff late in drafts (especially in NL-only leagues), but not much more.

As for the Marlins, Lindstrom, who saved all five of his September chances, likely enters spring training as the closer, so he'll have a little bit of preseason value. Just don't go overboard on him even if he seems to be the guy heading into the season; there's not enough of a track record to invest highly in him.

It will be an interesting offseason with regard to closers, with free agents such as Wood, Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes and Trevor Hoffman all likely to change teams, and there always seems to be a couple of other stoppers traded along the way as well. There's going to be a lot of movement to assess at this critical fantasy position all winter long.

James Quintong is an editor for ESPN Fantasy.



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