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The Dodgers Should Make a Run at Luke Gregerson

Recently DFA’d by St. Louis, Gregerson could be a welcome veteran presence to a weak ‘pen.

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 4: Luke Gregerson #44 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on May 4, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

It is no secret that the Dodgers bullpen is their weakest link with an offense that ranks first in the National League in OPS (.796) and a starting rotation that ranks first in ERA (3.17) as well. The bullpen ERA so far this season is a sub-standard 4.30, ranking 8th in the National League and 17th in Major League Baseball.

State of the Bullpen

The current bullpen consists of the following, with ERAs attached:

Kenley Jansen: 3.98

Pedro Baez: 2.95

Dylan Floro: 0.47

Yimi Garcia: 5.03

Joe Kelly: 8.80

Ross Stripling: 3.13 (8.10 in relief)

Scott Alexander: 3.46

Caleb Ferguson: 3.07

Although the ERAs don’t look too bad, outside of Joe Kelly and the fact that Yimi Garcia has a 4.75 FIP and Caleb Ferguson has a 6.26 FIP. Brutal.

A Look at Luke Gregerson

Recently, the St. Louis Cardinals designated long-time Padres reliever Luke Gregerson for assignment.

Gregerson has pitched to the tune of a 7.94 ERA so far this season. Yes that is absolutely bad, but what if I told you his DRA is a much more reasonable 4.13 and his FIP is a stellar 2.93? He has allowed 11 hits over 5 2/3 innings this season which is terrible.

In 2018, he did not fare much better, posting a 7.11 ERA and 4.74 FIP. However, DRA says Gregerson was better than average.

2015 DRA: 2.77

2016: 2.36

2017: 4.08

2018: 3.25

2019: 4.14

Those numbers do not look that bad to me. At this stage of his career, he is probably, at best, a low-3.00 ERA pitcher. That is an upgrade with Yimi Garcia and Joe Kelly displaying far worse.

When Luke Gregerson signed a 2-year/$11 million deal with St. Louis, he was expected to step in and be an excellent setup man and potentially close out games for them. He earned that contract after a fantastic three-year campaign with the Houston Astros where he posted ERAs of 3.10, 3.28, and 4.57. The first two seasons went well and the 2017 does not look so good, but all his peripherals hinted at a solid reliever.

A Silver Lining

Here is what the reason could be: Luke Gregerson’s fastball velocity has declined at an alarming rate and his fastball usage has…increased…at the same alarming rate. Gregerson has always been a pitcher whose bread and butter has been his off-speed. With both rates trending in the wrong direction, Gregerson’s performance has gone down with it. If the Dodgers can get Gregerson’s pitch mix back in order and Gregerson gets the chance to work with Rick Honeycutt, it could mean his career is revitalized. Since Luke Gregerson headed to St. Louis, he has tailed off and it might not be entirely his fault. He is 35 years old, but he might not be over the hill.

By no means am I saying Luke Gregerson is the answer to our bullpen needs. He most likely is not. However, he is a veteran who has pitched high-leverage innings in the recent past and was a World Series champion just two years ago.

Give him a shot, Friedman!

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics and Broadcast Journalism dual major at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

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    • No doubt, thank you very much but I like Yimi and Kelly’s upside a whole lot more. The only way we improve this pen is to add a proven stud, not a guy who’s velocity is trending downward.

  1. Overall, I would not refer to our bull pen as “weak” but rather inconsistent. We genuinely never truly know what we are going to get day-to-day. With the exception of the sudden prowess of Baez, Dodgers’ bull pen is rarely lights out but often manages to “get by.” Oftentimes, our wins are predicated on the fact that Dodgers’ starting pitching and offense is “off the hook.” This provides solid buffer when we get to the bull pen. And yes, I cringe every time we get to the bull pen when there is but a small lead. As for this Gregerson….seems like a whole lot of “IF’s.” And wouldn’t that just be more of the same?

  2. Minor league contract to pitch at OKC — that’s it! He has to prove that he can get hitters out in AAA before being considered for ML contract.

    • Hello SoCal! I concur but I kind of doubt Dodgers would even sign him to OKC.. We have other arms we can use. Garcia? IDK, but I would have removed him yesterday if they game had been close.

      • No doubt, if the game had been close Jansen would have pitched. Gregerson? If Dodgers think he is worth the effort to fix, then a minor league deal is a no risk option. I will not be surprised to see the Dodgers sign Craig Kimbrel after the June draft when there is no penalty.

        • I would be OK with Kimbrel after the draft and he certainly would be an up grade and not hurt. Hope all is well for you and family. Tough series coming up in TB, what with the pitching the Rays have.

          • AZUL, I agree with acquiring Kimbrel rather than Gregerson. If KJ decides to try another team next year, Kimbrell would be a quality acquisition for the team. Go PD Jr.!!!! Go Blue!!!!

  3. Right. That is all we need, another old over the hill pitcher. Are you kidding me? He would be another cheap out acquisition. How about Kimbrel.

  4. Daniel please stay at the University. You are young and full of answers. Unfortunately your answers are bad and not worth reading. I hope you are not getting paid to write the stupid things you write!!!!!

    • You guys don’t seem to like the quality of these articles on dodgersnation yet you all come here everyday to read and comment. Seems to me that you guys are desperate to put your opinions somewhere. You have more in common with these writers than you think

    • All I claimed here was that Gregerson would be a solid reclamation project. Nowhere did I say he would be the answer to the bullpen issues. Read it again.

  5. Start by getting rid of Garcia once and for all why he’s still here is beyond belief the guy has been average at best the last 4 years but mostly bad. Just gives up homeruns. Replace him with one of those highly touted pitching prospects. As far as Kelly he will improve his era won’t stay at 8. It will get down to low 4 high 3’s

  6. We need to Stop signing reclamation project. Friggin Garcia is a joke and overrated incredibly. Dump his ass and on June 1 we sign Craig Kimbrel to a two or three-year contract. I don’t give a shit if Janson doesn’t like it because he is not the same person after heart problems. Kimberll can be either the hold/set up man or closer on alternate days

  7. From these above posts, and I concur with them here, it seems that Gregorson is NOT the one for a BP spot, especially since he’s trending down in just about every category for a reliever. No thanks and as far as Garcia is concerned…STOP and I mean STOP with his existence in this BP, as. there are enough issues with it as it is right now.

  8. They can always bring back Ryan Madson. One time it would be nice if Friedman looked at someone wit a bit of talent left.

  9. BLUE LOU! If you are here , good day to you and honestly, as far as Kenley goes, I would be real surprised that should he decide to opt out that another team would pay him more $$ after what has taken place. As most say, he’s not the dominant closer he once was. All one has to do is look at those HR’s that he has been serving up. Yes he had heart issues but because of that, he might get a pass, but he claims to be fine now.

    • You are correct, Paul : KJ is not the dominating figure he once was. He is still very good, but so are many others. I was not happy reading about last week’s “spat” over who is calling pitches – Roberts, KJ, or his catchers. KJ seemed irked at his backstops, and that is not a good sign. Sometimes another addition to the BP sends a message to the team that there are rules, and the griping should be internal. You are certainly correct about the financial aspect of an addition, and what team would pay Jansen the money he is seeking. After Yimi’s late inning meltdown yesterday, I am more in favor of keeping KJ and then unloading YG. Go Blue!!!!

  10. This article seemed to be a litany of reasons not to sign him…which probable means Friedman is interested. Also, unless KJ completely turns this season around, he will be back as no one will give him more $$$ than his 2020 Dodgers contract will pay. And bring on Kimbrel and put him in the spot where he is the most help…not where KJ thinks he should be. It’s a team game KJ, not your platform for a new 2020 contract.

    • And one other thing. BP ERAs mean basically nothing. Inherited runs allowed give a better view of a guy’s worth. Coming in with no one on for a 9th inning save is nice, but show me how they do in stress situations.

  11. This year’s BP has been sort of an “The mystery of the missing reliever” series. One never knows who is coming out (except for Garcia and Jensen) and if they’ll be good enough to keep the ball in the park, keep from getting shelled, or otherwise melt down. KJ is clearly not the KJ of years past. I don’t believe the Dodgers have a BP, when combined with a history of starter health problems, will get the to the pennant, let alone the series. They need another rock solid, healthy arm to make it work, and then hope one or more of the guys they’ve got improve. If they stay with what they have in the pen, this club will be in trouble sooner or later this year.

  12. In what seems like a little note fact, some players are better suited to one league, not both. The Dodgers have a history of signing AL batters who come to the NL and forget how to hit. It’s the same with pitchers. Interleague trading seems hit or miss to me. The strike zone and number of shifts are different and it matters on both offense and defense/pitching.

    • Good one, Charly.
      If memory serves me approximately, Rick Honeycutt came to us from Texas(?) with something like a 2.12 ERA and was never as good over here in the NL.

  13. How about giving one of the Dodgers minor leaguers e.g. Sborz, May, Gonsolin etc. a shot. Financially, they would be on the major-league minimum and you would find out if you really have a prospect. Unless management is worried about their major-league service time starting so soon. Stop going after retreads.

    • One thing is certain, and that is this BP now and a lack of an impact RHB will haunt this team come the PS. They can get by for now but against those elite PS teams and that AL team in the WS, Dodgers don’t have enough of what it will take…yet.

  14. This would undoubtedly be a better option. I was saying Gregerson would be a solid reclamation project.

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