Kevin Gregg's deal is official

The Orioles announced this afternoon that reliever Kevin Gregg has passed his physical, making official the two-year, $10 million deal that he agreed to with the club last week.

Gregg's deal includes a club option for 2013 that will vest if the reliever finishes 50 games during the 2012 campaign or a combined 100 games between 2011 and 2012. Gregg saved 37 games with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, and has registered 121 saves over the past four seasons.


The Orioles, whose Opening Day bullpen will likely have five pitchers who have registered double-digit saves in at least one Major League season, including incumbent closer Koji Uehara, haven't guaranteed the closer spot to Gregg. That will be left up to manager Buck Showalter.

However, the nature of his contract, along with the reliever citing an opportunity to close as one of the main reasons that he signed with the Orioles, suggests that he'll be in line for a significant number of save opportunities.


"I want to close," said Gregg in a previous phone interview with The Sun. "I've talked to [President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail] and I have talked to Buck about it and I told them what I wanted. I had 37 saves in this division last year. I have shown I can do it. I have averaged 30 saves in the last four years. I love doing it, but we'll see when the season begins. … There is definitely opportunity there. It's what led me this way, closing, that's important to me. It's also important being on a team that is young and has the potential to win."

Gregg, 32, has saved 23 or more games each of the past four seasons, and has done it with three different clubs in that span. He closed for the Florida Marlins in 2007 and 2008, and then for the Chicago Cubs in 2009. He then set a career high with 37 saves (in 43 chances) in his lone season with the Blue Jays last year. In his career, he has saved 122 games in 150 opportunities.

Gregg's weakness last season was control. He walked 30 batters while allowing 52 hits and striking out 58 in 59 innings – recording a less than stellar 1.39 WHIP. However, he is considered a bulldog with no fear and a desire to take the baseball in any situation. He also relishes competing in the American League East.

"It's definitely a tough situation, but if you follow the moves (this offseason), the Yankees haven't made any moves. Boston, obviously, has made itself stronger. Toronto has done a couple of small things, and Tampa hasn't really made any moves and their payroll is going down," Gregg said. "I think there is definitely an opportunity … to make an impact and get Baltimore back to where it needs to be in competing for a title."

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