Kevin Gregg is the latest Marlin to get dumped, as he is on his way to Chicago for a minor leaguer whom you will probably never hear from again. For the Cubs, it looks less likely that Kerry Wood will return to Wrigley Field, as the Cubs could easily stick either Carlos Marmol in the closer role and let Gregg set him up, or let Gregg close and keep Marmol in the 8th inning. With Gregg now a Cub, it would appear that they no longer have a spot for Wood, so it looks like that there is one fewer team who will be looking for a closer in this free agency market, and one more closer available for Mets to sign. The K-Rod Super Refridador Deluxe may have just fell further in price.
As for the Marlins, this takes a reliever out of their bullpen, and for likely little return. However, if you look beyond what they got back, the trade may not look so bad. Kevin Gregg is due a big raise in arbitration, thanks mostly to high save numbers. For a team with a limited budget, he isn’t worth that kind of money, particularly since he didn’t pitch well in the second half. This was pretty much a straight salary dump, and with other bullpen options in-house (particularly after the Mike Jacobs trade), Gregg was a guy they simply didn’t need, and since this is a soft closer’s market, the Marlins may have felt compelled to dump him early.
Another move made today with less impact on the Mets was Nick Swisher going to the Yankees for Wilson Betemit and two minor leaguers. The package the White Sox got back for Swisher is less than what they gave up a year ago, but after Swish’s bad year, his value was way, way down. Swisher had shown good power and patience in the past, and is about average defensively. His 2008 was bad, but he’s a prime candidate for a bounce back season, and I think it’s a good move for the Yankees, particularly since he has versatility and the team seems to lack versatility in the outfield and at first base. He’s my ridiculously early top candidate for 2009 Comeback Player of the Year.