The Cincinnati Reds continued with their attempts to improve upon 2014's disastrous bullpen Saturday, signing reliever Burke Badenhop to a 1-year contract with a mutual option for 2016.
Sign RHP Burke Badenhop to 1-year contract with a mutual option for 2016; designate for assignment LHP Ismael Guillon....— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) February 7, 2015
...sign RHP Kevin Gregg to minor league contract with spring invite; name Dustin Hughes bullpen catcher.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) February 7, 2015
As noted in the unofficial official Tweet conference, the club opened up a spot on the 40-man roster by designating young LHP Ismael Guillon for assignment, also announcing that Kevin Gregg will join the organization on a minor league deal.
Raise your hand if you knew Kevin Gregg was still hurling baseballs professionally.
Badenhop is fresh off the best single season of his 7 year career, one in which he posted a 2.29 ERA, 169 ERA+, and 3.08 FIP in 70.2 IP for the Boston Red Sox. After being drafted in the 19th round of the 2005 draft by the Detroit Tigers, he broke in with the Florida Marlins back in 2008 after being a part of the massive trade that included the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, and Cameron Maybin (among others), and he also spent time with the Tampa Bay Rays and Milwaukee Brewers prior to landing in Boston for 2014. The specifics of Badenhop's contract include a base $1 million salary for 2015 and a $4 million option for 2016 that features a $1.5 million buyout should it not be exercised, meaning the $2.5 million guaranteed is a slight step up from the $2.15 million he earned in Boston during his last season of arbitration eligibility.
Burke's 31, and like many of you is a product of Bowling Green State University. He's also a master at inducing grounders, inducing them 61% of the time last season, and with the talented Reds defense behind him, that should make for a rock-solid on-paper pipe-dream hyphen-inducing combination despite his modest 89 mph fastball.
Cutting ties with Guillon is rather tough, though, despite the talented prospect's inability to truly harness all the magic in his left arm. The Venezuela native struggled mightily in 2014 in the hitter's paradise of Bakersfield, allowing an unsightly 1.65 WHIP and 6.79 ERA in 58.1 IP. His K/9 numbers plummeted as fast as the 13 dingers he allowed left the yard, and with the Reds' 40-man roster completely full, the 22 year old was designated to make room for Badenhop. I personally hope the team manages to keep him in the organization somehow, though, since I think he'd make for a quite nice lefty reliever despite his struggles as a starter over the past five seasons.
As for Gregg, you're likely familiar with him if you're either A) an Oregon native, B) a purveyor of vintage Rally Monkey paraphernalia, or C) hugely obsessed with Chris Sabo's Rec Specs. The now 36 year old broke in with the early aughts Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim California Angels Los Angeles Angelinos, and he's saved more than 20 games at least 6 times in his 12 years in the big leagues. He pitched just 9 innings in the majors in 2014 (in a second stint with the Marlins), and while those went rather awfully, he's not too far removed from a decent 2013 where he posted a 3.48 ERA in 62 innings with the Chicago Cubs. According to CBS's Jon Heyman, Gregg's base deal will be for $1.5 million bucks, plus the ever-nebulous incentives.
Welcome to Cincinnati, Burke & Kevin. Keep the ball in the yard & win ya some 1-run games, please.