Toronto Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg may be gone for now but still could be brought back into the fold, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said on Friday.
The American League club declined the two options it held on Gregg's contract late Thursday night, thereby making the 32-year-old, who saved 37 games for the Blue Jays in 2010, a free agent.
All contract options on major-league players had to be exercised by midnight and Anthopoulos said the Blue Jays wanted to keep their alternatives open heading into arbitration.
If the Blue Jays don't like what's out there as far as closers go Anthopoulos said the club could very well try to sign Gregg to a contract that would bring him back next season.
"Like I explained to Kevin last night, we're not prepared to lock him in right now," Anthopoulos said. "But we may very well come back to him in two weeks or three weeks from now, after we've had a chance to continue to work through the off-season and the market."
Anthopuolos said Gregg was "very open" about the possibility of coming back to the Blue Jays.
Under the terms of Gregg's contract, the Blue Jays held club options of extending his deal through 2011 for $5.25-million (all currency U.S.) or by two years at a cost of $9.5-million.
The makeup of Toronto's bullpen could be drastically different next season with both Scott Downs and Jason Frasor also eligible to become free agents.
Anthopoulos said it is too early in the off-season to say if a new closer can be found within the organization.
As for the move to acquire, and then decline the option, of catcher Miguel Olivo in a span of two hours on Thursday night, Anthopoulos described it as a safety measure.
"We really can't afford to be left naked at that position," Anthopoulos said.
The 32-year-old Olivo, who hit .269 with 14 home runs and 58 runs batted in in 112 games with the Colorado Rockies, was obtained for either cash or a player to be chosen later.
With last season's starting catcher John Buck expected to garner a lot of interest on the free-agent market and the team still uncertain if J.P. Arencibia is major-league ready, Olivo could still be offered salary arbitration by the Blue Jays.
The deadline to offer salary arbitration is Nov. 23.
If he declines and signs with another team it would net the Blue Jays another pick in next year's draft.
Anthopoulos also refused to confirm a report that hitting coach Dwayne Murphy has agreed to return to Toronto to work with new manager John Farrell.
The GM said he would like to wait until the entire coaching staff has been put in place before making any formal announcement.
Anthopoulos said he hopes to be able to do that before the end of next week.
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