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.