Look at these bridesmaids over here …
I kid, I kid. The Cardinals were always looking to upgrade their bullpen this offseason, and simply because reports that the Cubs had agreed to sign Brandon Morrow to a two-year deal plus an option for 2020 came out first, that doesn’t mean that the Cardinals were straight up copying the Cubs:
Free-agent reliever Luke Gregerson in agreement with #STLCards on two-year, $11M contract with a vesting option, sources tell The Athletic. Deal is pending a physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 10, 2017
Gregerson, who (like Morrow) is 33, is coming off a down year in Houston after a run of eight straight very good seasons as a reliever. Unless he totally lost it in 2017, you’ve gotta think this is a very solid signing for the Cardinals.
Really, Gregerson wasn’t that bad in 2017, with his strikeout rate and walk rate close to where they’ve long been. It was the homers that bit him, like so many other pitchers, the product of a slight bump in his hard contact rate and a more significant jump in his fly ball rate. His velocity stayed as low as it’s ever been in 2017, so it’s possible batters are simply catching up to him in other ways, and he can no longer limit the hard contact. Cubs batters will be looking to elevate the ball off of him in 2018.
In any case, though, it’s a low-risk, decent upside signing for the Cardinals.