If anybody has heard yet, that Cliff Lee guy signed with the Phillies. The Rangers, who had hoped the ace left hander would stay in the Lone Star State, chose otherwise, leaving a big hole in the Texas rotation. So there has been plenty of talk about signing Rafael Soriano and pitching him in the 9th thus sending Neftali Feliz to the rotation. Like Rich Harden, who is the centric of this entry, Feliz has tremendous stuff. Would it really make sense to put a closer who was dominant through 70-80 innings in a rotation where he would pitch 200 innings and have all of the opposing hitters get used to his fastball and curve? Or does it make sense to keep him in the closer role where he can empty everything out in one inning?
Well Rich Harden is apparently in talks with his former team, the Swingin’ A’s on what would most likely be a one year deal with plenty of incentives. The real question is, will he be starting or relieving?
Personally, Rich Harden is one of my favorite pitchers. He can’t stay healthy, but when he is healthy, he’s sometimes unhitable. Other times, he doesn’t miss bats and gets in to lots of trouble with opposing hitters. So like someone like Clay Hensley for example, does moving to the pen take pressure off of not only you, but your manager, and your teamates. I could see Harden succeeding in the 5th spot in the A’s rotation, but there are definetly some pros about possibly setting up for Andrew Bailey. In fact, say the aformentioned Feliz pitched in the rotation this year and pitches quite well, can Harden join a teams rotation in ’12 after expierence in the pen and pitch a decent 180 innings? I’m not sure, but the problem again for Harden has not been the fact that he can’t pitch well, it’s about staying healthy. In 2008, he was dominant. It would be great to see him get back to that form, but for now, I think a place like Oakland, even though things didn’t end well, would be a fine fit for him unlike Colorado or any other team in the west. I thought a la Clay Hensley, the Marlins would be a great fit on a minor league deal and a chance to make the rotation, but it looks like he’s close to a deal with the A’s. Let’s just hope that Rich Harden can be Rich Harden again.
By Dave Gershman
There has been a ton of talk about Greinke this off-season, and there has been even more talk about the kind of return he’d demand. Well a pitcher of Greinke’s caliber is likely to bring back several potential superstars in return. Personally, I think he’d bring back at least two top 50 prospects, and two more top 100 prospects. From talking to scouts, writers, and other experts, that is very in line with Dayton Moore’s fruitful beliefs in what he’d get from other teams for the young ace.
Something that many don’t realize, Zack Greinke had a fine season in 2010, despite a 10-14 record and an ERA over 4. Also keep in mind, that many internet junkies will suggest that Chris Narveson had a better season based on wins than the Greinkmeister, but not exactly. Zack was extremely unlucky this year. The Royals defense and offense on Greinke’s starts were horrid. He was 11th in MLB among pitchers in WAR this year (5.2) and was 20th among qualified pitchers in FIP (3.34). His slider and change up were also extremely effective in ’10.
So what will Zack Greinke bring back you ask? Well here’s what I expect. From looking at the returns of Roy Halladay and Adrian Gonzalez who were under contract for one season at the time of their trade, their respective teams acquired Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace, and Travis D’Arnaud and Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, and Reymond Fuentes. Both of those are somewhat even in my opinion. So would it make sense to say that a Zack Greinke return would require that, plus a prospect and a half in terms of value? Say Casey Kelly and co. were still on the Red Sox. I guess what I am refering to as equal value for Greinke would be the afformentioned A-Gon return, plus either Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Rice or Jose Iglesias and Ryan Kalish. Again, just using that as an example. So what would that translate to?
Cubs: Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson, Hak-Ju Lee, and Chris Archer
Dodgers: Dee Gordon, Trayvon Robinson, Allen Webster, and Kenley Jansen
Rangers: Derek Holland, Engel Beltre, and Jurrickson Profar
Some who I’ve approached about those potential offers have said the Royals would need more in return, and some have said that would be an overpayment. The former are the majority. I guess the big question is, with Greinke’s mental state, would a new team motivate him 80% more than the 2010 Royals did? I certainly think so. According to Rany Jazayerli, a Royals expert, In Greinke’s magical 2009 campaign, he got off to a great start large in part because of his fellow teamates, who were exceptional throughout the first month and a half of the season. Then the Royals started to play as well as an under-12 softball team, and Greinke was underperforming a great deal. And then in mid-august when he realized that he was in the Cy Young mix, he stepped it up enough to compile the best September ERA in Baseball. So I do think motivation plays a factor when it comes to teams banking on his mental state to be much better on a new team; I think he will perform fine and feel much more comfortable.
The rumors are still dwindling and Cliff Lee is still on the market. As long as he is still a free agent, Zack Greinke is still a Kansas City Royal. There are strong indications that Greinke will be traded very soon, thus to add to the flux of impressive minor league talent in the higher levels of the organization. No doubt about it, the ongoing Greinke rumors and potential trade of Zack, will be extremely exciting.