It seems obvious to those familiar with the recent developments surrounding Zack Greinke and the Toronto Blue Jays that Alex Anthopolous is attempting to lower KC’s expectations in terms of returns and that KC seems unwilling to do so until Cliff Lee signs and they get a sense for what the “losers” of that signing are willing to pay in return for his services. While Alex is most likely working as hard as he can to land Greinke, he really can’t force KC to pull the trigger unless he gives in to KC’s demands for both Travis Snider and Kyle Drabek to be included in the deal. That’s a steep price for a pitcher, but when you consider that he is within the top 10 pitchers in baseball and that both Drabek and Snider still have a lot left to prove, you can see why talks are “ongoing”.
My prediction is that Greinke talks will heat up big time when the Lee signing occurs. I also predict that the Angels may jump into the fray and that the Royals will indeed give in and trade Zack to one of the following: Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, Rangers, Brewers, Mets, or the Blue Jays. The Royals are aid to be asking for everything but the kitchen sink and that this won’t change anytime soon. But, like it or not, when the other chips start to fall and the Royals are still holding onto Zack, they may be forced to alter some of their demands in order to get a deal done.
Apparently the Rangers have really irked the Royals in terms of offers, but that’s most likely because they see themselves as the front runners to Cliff Lee and therefore feel little pressure to chase Zack yet. If Lee signs with the Yankees, all bets could be off and the race for Zack would heat up big time.
The Blue Jays are stuck waiting in the wings. My best guess is that Alex Anthopolous is willing to include Travis Snider, but is reluctant to give up Kyle Drabek – or vice versa – and is trying to get the Royals to bite on a deal that includes either Zach Stewart and/or Darin Mastroianni instead. I’m leaning towards the Jays pushing for Travis Snider and Zach Stewart (along with another prospect SP) possibility, along with 1 more prospects, because scouting reports indicate that Brett Lawrie may be a better fit in the OF corners. Placing him in RF instead of Snider essentially keeps the potential at the position just as high but provides a more athletic option for the Jays at the position – someone who can run, catch, and hit (albeit hit with a little less power for now).
I can’t really predict where talks will go from here, but I will add that if a trade for Greinke does take place for the Jays and doesn’t include Brett Lawrie, they will essentially have done the following:
- Traded Shaun Marcum for a high (top) caliber 2B or LF/RF prospect arguably close to equal value of Travis Snider;
- Replaced the stuff of Marcum, rated as equal to a #2 or #3 starter, with that of a #1 – a rare thing in baseball;
- lowered the injury risk to their staff by sending a former TJ pitcher to MLW in return for a younger and fairly injury free pitcher in Greinke; and
- Traded Zach Stewart and the others included for that upgrade in pitching and downgrade in injury risk.
I’m not sure that this is as clear cut as listed above, but that’s the way I see it. Whether or not it’s worth it is debatable and dependant on the deal that actually happens, including the supporting pieces which can have a large impact on the deal overall. I still place the chances of Greinke landing in Toronto as fairly low and expect the Angels or Yankees to come over the top with offers of their own.
Whatever the case, the rumors just won’t die until the Royals come out and say flat out – there is no way we are moving Zack Greinke because offers are simply too low for us to make a move. Until that time, we’ll keep monitoring the situation and will enjoy the ride!