St. Louis Cardinals: Trade, release, or keep Luke Gregerson?

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 28: Luke Gregerson #44 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on April 28, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 28: Luke Gregerson #44 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on April 28, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Luke Gregerson’s knee surgery adds to the St. Louis Cardinals continuing bullpen woes.  Should the Cardinals trade, release or keep the veteran right-handed reliever?

Luke Gregerson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his knee and will miss four to six weeks of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Thus far, in 2018, he has only pitched 8.1 innings, has a 8.64 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.320.

Gregerson was first placed on the DL on March 28 for a left hamstring strain and didn’t return until April 16th.  He returned to the DL on May 16th for a right shoulder strain and hasn’t pitched since.

The recovery of the 34-year-old Gregerson from knee surgery will mean the St. Louis Cardinals will be without him until after the All Star break.  Should the Cardinals trade, release, or keep Gregerson?

Whether the Cardinals trade, release, or keep Luke Gregerson, playing into consideration will be his two-year, $11 million contract he signed in December.

Trading Gregerson

Trading Luke Gregerson wouldn’t likely be an easy thing to do.  Even though Gregerson’s contract isn’t prohibitive, finding a team who would take on his salary would be a challenge for John Mozeliak and Michael Girsch.  Likely, the St. Louis Cardinals would need to eat most of Gregerson’s salary to find a team to accept a trade.

Certainly, the St. Louis Cardinals have needs for bullpen and offensive help.  Trading Gregerson alone wouldn’t help that cause, but in a package deal, it might bring in some help.  Throwing in a Carson Kelly and a Kolten Wong, may bring real help to the Cardinals.  Otherwise, a trade would only work, if the Cardinals are willing to absorb most of Gregerson’s salary.

Releasing Gregerson

Releasing Luke Gregerson is a real option for the St. Louis Cardinals, if a trade couldn’t be worked out.  As stated previously, his salary isn’t prohibitive, and the Cardinals could afford the hit, allowing Gregerson and the team to move on.  Consequently, it would allow the Cards to open up a spot on the 40-man roster for a prospect or a later trade piece that could help the team.

The Cardinals have taken deeper salary hits in the past, such as MIke Leake.  Leake was almost two years in a five-year, $80 million contract when he was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2017.  The Cardinals sent cash and international slot money to rid themselves of the right-handed starter.  In return the Redbirds received middle infield prospect Rayder Ascanio.

Keeping Gregerson

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Keeping Luke Gregerson may be the likely option for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Gregerson is an experienced reliever and has considerable success in his career.  He had success as a closer in 2015 and 2016, when he saved 46 games with the Houston Astros.   Even in 2017, Gregerson was a workhorse reliever when he made 65 appearances, but with an elevated ERA of 4.57.

If Gregerson can comeback from his knee surgery and pitch like he did for the Astros, he would be a valuable contributor to the beleaguered Cardinals bullpen.  The upcoming rehab stint could be beneficial in Gregerson returning to his pre-2017 form.

Conclusion

My recommendation would be to keep Gregerson and see how his rehab goes in the minor league.  Luke Gregerson is not that many years removed from being an effective reliever with the Astros.

Also, the Cardinals haven’t found a group of relievers they can rely on in their bullpen.  So far, only Bud Norris, Jordan Hicks, and Sam Tulvailala seem to be providing any consistency.  Keeping Gregerson isn’t preventing the Cardinals from bringing up a young effective arm.  The bus between Memphis has been running along just fine with Gregerson on the roster.

Keeping Luke Gregerson doesn’t provide any real risk and the rewards could still be there.  If a valuable trade opportunity presents itself, then yes, make the move.  Until then, hold steady with Gregerson.

Next: More rumors

Let us know your thoughts on Luke Gregerson.  Would you trade, release, or keep him?  Thanks for reading.

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