Deadline Watch: Zack Greinke
By Richard Janvrin-TRST MLB Rumors Analyst
As the MLB trade deadline approaches, there will be much speculation over who is dealt and where. One big name that could find himself in a new uniform is Milwaukee Brewers ace, Zack Greinke. Greinke, 28, was traded to the Brewers on December 19, 2010 for Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jeremy Jeffress. The Brewers also acquired Yuniesky Betancourt in the deal. Since he’s been a Brewer, Greinke has been stellar. He’s posted a 25-8 record with a 3.45 ERA and a strikeout rate of 10K/9 and is 9-2 this season with a 2.82 ERA. Greinke, who is in the last deal of his contract is owed approximately $7MM for the rest of the season. The Brewers have said they will trade Greinke if he does not sign an extension by the July 31st trade deadline, and that doesn’t appear to be happening. There are a lot of teams interested, but only a few places Greinke will be willing to go. Keep in mind, though, Greinke has battled anxiety and depression issues throughout his career so big markets – Boston, New York, Los Angeles, would probably not work out. That is unfortunate because the Boston Red Sox are in need of pitching, and the Yankees have been interested in Greinke for some time now. Here are my top 3 destinations for Zack Greinke.
1. Texas Rangers – The Rangers are 49-29, but let’s be honest, have a pedestrian starting rotation. Matt Harrison has been a huge boost for them, but with acquiring Greinke, they’ll have a true ace. Instead of reaching the World Series and losing this year, they’ll have a huge chance of winning it all with their supreme offense and if they add Greinke, dominant pitching. It will probably mean trading one of the best, if not the best pitching prospect in the Rangers organization, Martin Perez. The Rangers appear to be in “win now” mode, so I have a feeling, if the Brewers ask for Perez, the Rangers will most likely do it. If this trade happens, the Rangers will have a rotation that would look like this: Zack Greinke, Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland. This will leave incumbent starters Roy Oswalt, Neftali Feliz, Justin Grimm and Scott Feldman looking, but I’m almost positive one of these players will be included in the deal. Most likely Colby Lewis. Besides, how long will Oswalt last? I think the Texas Rangers have excess pitching, but will make room if they acquire Greinke.
2. Atlanta Braves – The Braves are starving for pitching. They’ve lost Brandon Beachy, who at the time of playing, you could have made a case for being the Cy Young winner, to season ending Tommy John surgery. Right now, their rotation consists of, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Jair Jurrjens, and Randall Delgado. I believe their top pitching prospect Julio Teheran is untouchable, so that could mean that have to trade another prospect, one who is in the rotation; Randall Delgado. Randall Delgado is a projected No. 2 starter in the big leagues. Despite his struggles this season, Delgado is still a rare, top-notch prospect. This year in the majors, Delgado has gone 4-8 with a 4.52 ERA and his strikeout rate isn’t spectacular at 7.2K/9. If the Braves are willing to trade the prospects, just like any other ball club, I think they could land him.
3. St. Louis Cardinals – Like the Braves, the Cardinals have lost many of starting pitchers. The list includes Chris Carpenter, Kyle McClellan and Jaime Garcia. During the past offseason, the Cardinals lost, who will probably be a top 10 player of all-time in Albert Pujols, so now they need pitching to keep them in the hunt. The Cardinals have been forced to use Joe Kelly, a rookie to fill-in the back end of the rotation. What may be a huge problem with Greinke being a Cardinal is that the Cardinals will probably be asked to trade elite pitching prospect Shelby Miller who I don’t see them trading. But who knows, they may be forced to make a splash to keep them in the hunt. They are 2.5 games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. This is probably the most unlikely situation out of the three, though.
Keep in mind – any deal that may happen will most likely need to be conditional on Greinke signing an extension to the respective team he is traded too. No team will trade their best prospects for a 3 month unless they are really, really desperate. If traded, I think Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan will convince Greinke to sign an extension and ultimately be traded to the Texas Rangers in hopes of the teams first World Series title in their history.