Gregg, Gonzalez, Mulder getting a look?
Two sources said that right-hander Kevin Gregg and left-hander Mike Gonzalez are among the relievers being at least internally discussed by the Brewers, who were also reportedly to meet Tuesday with representatives of free agent starter Mark Mulder.
Gregg or Gonzalez are among a number of names being debated by Brewers officials as they look to bolster a bullpen that will be without injured right-hander Mark DiFelice next season. The Brewers already have their closer in all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, who finalized a one-year deal soon in the days following the regular season to return for a second year in Milwaukee, and a reliable right-handed setup man in Todd Coffey, who posted a 2.90 ERA while leading the NL with 83 2/3 relief innings.
The 31-year-old Gregg began last season as the Cubs’ closer and went 5-6 with a 4.72 ERA and 23 saves while pitching in 72 games, his third straight season of at least 70 appearances. He suffered seven blown saves before the Cubs lifted him from the closer’s role in August.
Gregg would probably not be the right-handed specialist that DiFelice was. Right-handed hitters batted .257 against him in 2009 with 11 home runs in 144 plate appearances. Lefties only hit him at a .195 clip, with two home runs in 118 at-bats. For his career, right-handers have batted .252 against Gregg versus .277 by left-handers.
Gregg was a Type A free agent but the Cubs didn’t offer him arbitration. That means Milwaukee would not have to forfeit a Draft pick to sign him.
They would, however, have to make that sacrifice for Gonzalez, who declined the Braves’ offer of arbitration to seek employment on the open market. Because the Brewers’ 2009 record put them in the bottom half of baseball’s 30 teams, they would only have to surrender a second-round pick.
Gonzalez split closer duties in Atlanta last season with right-hander Rafael Soriano and posted a 2.42 ERA and 10 saves in 80 games. He’s tough against hitters on both sides of the plate, holding left-handed batters to a .201 average and left-handers to .213.
The Brewers already have one in-house left-hander in Mitch Stetter, who had a 3.60 ERA in 71 appearances last year.
Another left-hander on Milwaukee’s radar for some time is Mulder, whose representatives were to meet with Brewers officials on Tuesday, according to SI.com. Mulder could be a bounce-back candidate to help Milwaukee’s starting rotation.
Mulder has been limited to four starts since 2006 because of shoulder injuries and did not pitch at all in 2009. He did work during a summer of rehab with his former Oakland A’s pitching coach, Rick Peterson, who was hired by the Brewers earlier this winter. According to SI.com, Peterson was to take park in Tuesday’s sit-down.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was to meet with reporters at the Winter Meetings after 4 p.m. CT.
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