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Cardinals sign Luke Gregerson to 2-year deal

In an attempt to boost their bullpen, the Cardinals are bringing back a player they originally drafted.

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Six Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Cardinals have signed right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson to a two-year, $11 million contract with a vesting option, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The third-year option is worth $6 million, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While he won his first World Series earlier this year, the 33-year-old Gregerson is coming off his worst major-league season. Over 65 games with the Astros, Gregerson posted a 4.57 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with 70 strikeouts and 20 walks through 61 innings. On the bright side, Gregerson was unscored upon while allowing just two hits and two walks and striking out five through 3.2 postseason innings. The obvious caveat to the situation is that manager A.J. Hinch was hesitant to use Gregerson in the playoffs, so he pitched almost exclusively in low-pressure situations.

Over 623 appearances through nine big-league seasons split between the Padres, Athletics, and Astros, Gregerson has a 3.02 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 607 strikeouts, 170 walks, and 66 saves in 599 innings.

Gregerson’s career is coming full circle, as he was drafted by the Cardinals in the 28th round of the 2006 draft. He pitched in their minor-league system from 2006-08 but was dealt to the Padres as part of a deal for shortstop Khalil Greene before the 2009 season.

The Cardinals will presumably try to add another veteran reliever and it’s most likely that Gregerson will end up serving as a middle reliever in their reconstructed bullpen, but since they currently lack an established closer, he could theoretically be an option for the ninth inning if they don’t acquire another big-name reliever this offseason.