Orioles finally close deal with their future closer in Kevin Gregg

January 04, 2011 | Ryan Chell

Kevin Gregg

The Orioles have been in talks with free agent reliever Kevin Gregg since the start of free agency, and finally the two sides were able to agree to a deal Tuesday to bring Gregg into Baltimore’s pitching mix.

Foxsports.com was the first to confirm the report, and the deal is believed to be two years, roughly in the market of 8-10 million dollars.

The deal is pending a physical.

Gregg had been a member of the AL East Rival Toronto Blue Jays last season, pitching in 63 games for Toronto while saving a career-high 37 with a 2-6 record and a 3.51 ERA.

Gregg, 32, has been in the league for eight seasons, mostly serving as a setup man for the Angels his first four years in the majors. In 2007, he became the full-time closer for the Florida Marlins; at the time former Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz was his mentor.

He had 32 saves that year in just 36 chances despite not being the closer for roughly the first two months of the season.

He is the third acquisition the Orioles have made this off-season to solidify the bullpen, joining the likes of the re-signed Koji Uehara(Showalter made him the closer late in 2010 where he saved 13 games) and ex-Blue Jays teammate Jeremy Accardo, who saved 30 games for the Blue Jays in 2007.

The Orioles also have left-hander Mike Gonzalez, a former closer in his own right for the Pirates and Braves, but all expectations now point to Gregg (122 saves in four seasons as full-time closer) getting the save opportunities for Baltimore in 2011.

What took the deal so long to pan out was that the Orioles and Gregg’s agent were roughly two million dollars apart as Gregg wanted as high as 12 million dollars from Baltimore while the Orioles waffled back and forth between eight and ten million dollars over the bargaining period, but the deal is believed to be in the Orioles’ price range this time.

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