Goodbye, Jeff Gray, Probably

Is it me or is Jeff Gray's hand unusually pink in this picture? Is Jeff Gray all right? Does Jeff Gray even know how to give high fives? Are they just touching pinkies?

Today didn't only bring news that the Seattle Mariners are going to have to go without winning a Gold Glove award. Today also brought news that the Seattle Mariners are presumably going to have to go without keeping their Jeff Gray. Larry Stone:

Mariner RHP Jeff Gray was claimed off waivers by Twins

I say "are presumably" instead of "are" because you never know with these things. Players like Gray, sometimes they forget something in the clubhouse, then when they come back to get it, they just kind of hang around for a while and then it's like, well, I guess we have Jeff Gray again. Okay.

The thing I'll always remember about Jeff Gray is how, for the longest time, he just didn't pitch. The Mariners grabbed Gray off waivers on May 13th. He remained on the active roster the whole time, but between then and July 9th, he had three appearances. Three appearances, over nearly two months. Chris Ray went a while between appearances at one point but Gray was treated like a Rule 5 reliever that the Yankees drafted and kept for some reason. I've never seen anything like it. Gray was just kind of there, occasionally playing pre-game soccer with Jack Wilson.

My theory is that Gray and Eric Wedge had a really awkward and uncomfortable introduction where one of them maybe forgot the other's name or slapped him on the butt or something. That would be weird, if a new reliever slapped his new manager on the butt, and the manager wasn't expecting it. That would explain why things were so strange for so long. But it's just a theory and I don't really feel like asking any sources.

Of course, Gray would end up pitching a fair amount in the end. He was third on the team in appearances in the second half, and from July on, he threw 29⅓ innings. Over those 29⅓ innings, he was okay at first, and then he was bad, finishing as a Mariner with one more walk than strikeouts. Gray had an opportunity to establish himself as a big league-caliber reliever, but he couldn't do it, probably because he's only a fringe big league-caliber reliever.

So he's doomed himself to continued life on the fringe, where he'll exist until his next extended opportunity, if he gets one. There are worse lives, but there are better ones, and with Gray turning 30 in less than a month, he's running out of time to make more of himself than he has.

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