With David Robertson‘s decision to test free agency, the Yankees have something of a hole in the back end of their bullpen. Robertson’s easily the best of this year’s free agent relief crop, but it remains to be seen if the Yankees will be willing to spend $10-$15M annually to retain their All-Star closer. Lefty Andrew Miller headlines the second tier of free agent relievers, but like Robertson, he’s unlikely to come cheap. If the team does choose to pass on Miller and Robertson, that leaves Luke Gregerson, Rafael Soriano, Sergio Romo, Francisco Rodriguez, and Jason Grilli as the top free agents remaining on the board, and with a 2.12 ERA in 2014, Gregerson had the lowest ERA of this group.
Although his fastball almost never breaks 90, Gregerson’s been one of the game’s better relievers for a few years now. Since establishing himself as a dominant setup man with the Padres back in 2009, Gregerson’s been about as consistent as they come, racking up at least 55 innings in each of the last six seasons, and posting a sub-3 ERA in the past four. Gregerson’s overall numbers may have been helped by his home ballparks. He spent 2009-2013 pitching half of his games in Petco Park, before being traded to the A’s, who also play in a park known for suppressing homers. But even after taking his home ballpark into account, Gregerson’s still a very talented pitcher. He keeps the ball on the ground, and rarely issues any walks, which is generally a good recipe for success. Odds are, he wouldn’t have much trouble putting up a sub-3.50 ERA, even in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium.
As a sub-elite bullpen arm, Gregerson’s likely to be available for relatively cheap — at least compared to Robertson and Miller. A 2-year $10-15 million dollar deal feels like a realistic contract for the soft-tossing righty, and certainly seems like something the out Yankees would be able to swing. A deal of that size would leave the front office with plenty of cash to spend on filling out the rotation and the infield, and wouldn’t be too debilitating to the organization, even if Gregerson never threw a pitch for the Yankees.
I think we all want the Yankees to resign David Robertson, but its not at all clear if they’ll be willing to spend what it’ll take. The Yankees have lots of holes to fill this winter, and the one at the back end of the bullpen is far from the most pressing, especially with Dellin Betances in tow. Relievers just don’t throw all that many innings, and even someone like Robertson isn’t nearly as valuable as an above-average third baseman or shortstop. If the Yankees do decide to go the cheap on their bullpen, signing Gregerson likely be a wise move. He’s a reliable bullpen arm, who wouldn’t cost a ton of money.
This post was originally featured on Pinstripe Alley.