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Time to Play GM: Zack Greinke Anybody?

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Every once in a while, we all get to gather 'round and play a little game I like to call "General Manager RPG."  Right now, I'm the "Game Master" or "GM" (see what I did there?) and I have this little idea brewing my head.  Yet, it looks as if I am certainly not the only one.

Make a trade for the Kansas City Royals' SP Zack Greinke.  Yes, I mean the 2009 AL Cy Young Award Winner (let's not forget he also won the Sporting News' AL Pitcher of the Year and MLBPA Players Choice AL Pitcher of the Year;  a hat-trick of sorts).

What's that you say?  You didn't put up your "Anti-Stupidity Shield" up?  Well time for you to roll for damage and see what happens, shall we?


On the surface, this may certainly seem like a boneheaded idea.  Why?  The Red Sox certainly have a fleshed out rotation and adding another pitcher will simply increase the congestion in the rotation.  Also, what would the team have to give up to secure Greinke's services?  Certainly several prospects that's for sure, and that is certainly not a palatable idea by any means.

However, let's take a look at the fine print shall we?

2010 - Zack Greinke 10-14 33 33 3 0 0 0 220.0 219 114 102 18 55 181 4.17 1.25

Now in no way do those stats do Greinke justice.  For an in-depth analysis of his stats, I turn to my friends at  Make what you want of those statistics as they're always in the eye of the beholder.

He's had one full season that was below average and there was one season he was completely out for the year.  Taking those out of consideration, Greinke has been pretty darn good (and that's an understatement if there ever was one) so far and I certainly do not expect him to get worse anytime soon.

So we know he's good, but how do Theo & Co. expect to get him?  There might just be a few prospects on Kansas City's radar that the team has down on the farm and are simply salivating to get their hands on.  Or maybe there aren't.  We simply don't know what; however, we can certainly surmise that KC would want players that won't cost much.  Why?  The Royals are a very budget conscious organization and they'll trim their payroll, even if it means trading away the face of the franchise.  It's been speculated that the 2011 payroll will be lower than last year, and to do that, the team will certainly have to trim payroll.  Greinke's contract would certainly fall onto the proverbial chopping block when it comes to payroll trimming and a trade is the only way to have that happen right away.  One trade of note (one I was a bit shocked by): Bob Neumeier, while guest hosting on Dennis and Callahan on WEEI, brought up the possibility of Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias for Zack Greinke.  Personally, that's too much, but certainly an intriguing possibility.

Of course we cannot forget that the Red Sox would end up with a "traffic jam" of sorts in the starting rotation.  The only way I'd see any alleviation to that would be to trade a pitcher one can easily part with.  Considering contractual obligations and similar payroll considerations, it would certainly look like Daisuke Matsuzaka would be the odd man out; however, nothing would be as easy as it would seem in that aspect.  There are no-trade clauses to consider and the fact that there may not be many teams willing to take on the player, let alone the contract.

However, here are a few things that will certainly "pour the chamber pot into the stew:" Greinke has a no trade clause to about 15 or 20 teams, so that certainly can mess things up a bit.  Now the Red Sox may not be on that list, but we clearly wouldn't know that unless that information was leaked.

Also, there's the issues in regards to Greinke's mental health.  As it has been documented, he was on the 60-day DL (and subsequently out for the rest of the year) for social anxiety disorder and depression.  Neither psychological condition is something to take lightly and especially considering that baseball is a mental game as much as a physical game, it's something to consider for sure.  Can Greinke handle the big lights in Boston and the feverish nature of fans that follow the team?  It's something to be considered.

So playing GM, would I trade for Greinke?  It's all dependent upon the prospects in question and how I could theoretically clear the jam in the rotation his acquisition would create.  In the end, it might be a problem not worth having...but who knows?  It could all work out in some way in the end.

(Kudos to Will McDonald at Royals Review for a short & sweet synopsis about the situation)