The official announcement of Kevin Gregg's two-year deal today prompts further questioning of what Orioles manager Buck Showalter will do with the closer role.
Will it be Gregg, who saved 37 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, or Koji Uehara, who went 13-for-15 in save opportunities for the Orioles this past season? Or will Showalter go with the closer-by-committee approach as five members of the projected 2011 bullpen have recorded double-digit saves in at least one major league season?
Well, to no surprise, Showalter is not ready to say, and I suspect that won't change much before the Orioles' April 1 season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
"Andy and I agreed that … we [didn't] want anything said or promised to get this guy to sign with us," Showalter said. "[Gregg] knows exactly what the deal is. Obviously, he's going to be in the bullpen. Last time I looked, he's the only guy on the club that saved 37 games in the AL East. But I also know how Koji pitched the last couple of months. If Koji is healthy, it's tough not to give him an opportunity to pick up where he left off. I don't look at it as a problem. It's a good situation to have."
Showalter is also excited about the rest of the bullpen, which could include Michael Gonzalez, Jeremy Accardo, Jim Johnson and Jason Berken.
"If Berken comes back healthy, it shapes up to have the potential to be pretty deep," Showalter said. "You have to like, obviously, Koji and Gregg, Gonzalez, Johnson and Berken. You're able to spread the load around a little bit. You are talking about five guys who have had some success in the major leagues. You'll probably see us do some things to address the left-handed situation. We'll see how the rest of it shakes out. We still have some irons in the fire, so to speak."
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