Luke Gregerson says he should be the Astros' closer over Ken Giles
Luke Gregerson said he should remain the Astros closer after his work last season. The team acquired Ken Giles over the winter.
The Astros beefed up their bullpen over the winter by acquiring hard-throwing Ken Giles in a seven-player trade with the Phillies. His exact role has not yet been decided, but you can be sure Giles will be asked to get big outs in 2016.
Luke Gregerson, Houston's incumbent closer, told reporters Thursday he believes he should remain the team's ninth-inning guy after his strong 2015 season. He doesn't think the job should go to Giles. Here's what Gregerson said, via Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle:
"How do you think I did last year?" Gregerson said Thursday when asked about his role, repeating the question when a reporter didn't hear him the first time. "I don't see any reason things should change. Obviously, bringing the guy we brought in, he's got a strong power arm, he's shown that he can get guys out on the major league level and I think he's going to be a great addition to our bullpen no matter where we all fit in.
"We all know the situation of who we brought in. You know the guy's got great stuff, strong arm. No matter where we fall in in the bullpen, I think we've just gotten better, and that's it."
For what it's worth, Giles said all the right things when asked about the closer's job, telling reporters Gregerson "should feel that way ... I'm just here to help out the team no matter what the position is."
While Giles said he's ready to help regardless of role, I'm sure he hopes to close the same way every reliever wants to close. Not only is it the more glamorous job, it also pays better. Teams are getting smarter about paying for saves in free agency, but they still equal huge dollars in arbitration. Giles is two years away from arbitration and five years away from free agency.
The case can be made Giles is most valuable to the Astros as a setup man, allowing manager A.J. Hinch to use him to put out fires in the seventh and eighth inning. Gregerson would then get the ostensibly easier job of starting the ninth inning fresh with no one on base. Giles would get the most important situations earlier in the game.
Either way, the Astros are going to have a quality reliever in the ninth inning. Clearly Gregerson, who is entering year two of his three-year, $18.5 million contract, wants to close, so maybe it's best to give him the ninth so everyone's happy. Giles would then join Pat Neshek, Will Harris, and Tony Sipp in the innings leading up to the ninth.
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