Zack Greinke—Free Agency Profile

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Name: Zack Greinke

Position: Right-handed starting pitcher

Vital Statistics: Age—29; Height—6’2”; Weight—200 lbs; Bats—Right; Throws—Right

Transactions: June 2002—Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1st round (6th pick) MLB Draft from Apopka HS in Florida; traded by the Kansas City Royals

December 19, 2010—Traded by the Royals to the Milwaukee Brewers with INF Yuniesky Betancourt and cash for OF Lorenzo Cain, SS Alcides Escobar, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, and RHP Jake Odorizzi

July 27, 2012—Traded by the Brewers to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for SS Jean Segura, RHP Ariel Pena, and RHP Johnny Hellweg

Awards: 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner

Agent: Casey Close

Might he return to the Angels? Yes

Teams that could use and pay him: Los Angels Angels, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers

Positives: Greinke has a low-90s fastball that he can accelerate it up to around 97 when he needs it; this is what was referred to 100 years ago by the likes of Christy Mathewson as “pitching in a pinch.” His control is masterful; he has three variations on his fastball—a cutter, a four-seamer, and a two-seamer—a curve, slider, and changeup. The combination makes him one of the most gifted pitchers in baseball.

He formulates a gameplan and executes it. Greinke’s motion is clean and effortless and he’s been physically healthy (apart from a his fractured rib incurred playing basketball) for his whole career. He can hit, is a fine all-around athlete, and a leader off the field ready and willing to provide tips to teammates and even the front office.

Negatives: His much-publicized psychological issues and battle with depression have led to the perception that he wouldn’t be able to handle the high-pressure East Coast venues of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies. He has a deer-in-the-headlights look that put forth the image of fear and inability to deal with big games. His one opportunity in the post-season came in 2011 with the Brewers and he got rocked in three starts.

What he’ll want: 7-years, $167 million with a full no-trade clause

What he’ll get: 6-years, $148 million with a 7th year option raising it to a potential $170 million and a full no-trade clause

Teams that might give it to him: Dodgers, Angels, Nationals, Red Sox, Cardinals

The Rangers want Greinke and have the money to pay him, but they’re not going as high as the bidding will get. The Angels have the cash, but they re-signed Jered Weaver and signed C.J. Wilson to essentially duplicate contracts that each total about half of what Greinke wants. Are they going to make an increasingly toxic clubhouse atmosphere worse by overpaying for an outsider after Weaver went against the wishes of his agent Scott Boras by taking a down-the-line salary to forego free agency and stay? With the Albert Pujols contract on the books, I don’t see Arte Moreno okaying such an outlay for Greinke.

The Nationals are loaded with money but, truthfully, they don’t need Greinke. They’ll spend their money on a center fielder and if they want another starting pitcher will go the cheaper/easier route with a lower level name with Dan Haren or by trading for James Shields.

The Red Sox are trying to get back to their roots of the Theo Epstein era, but have also made some noise for players like Josh Hamilton and Greinke who might not be best-suited for Boston. Like with Hamilton, the Red Sox could panic as a response to the anger of their fan base and the drastic improvement of the Blue Jays.

The Cardinals have money to spend with Chris Carpenter and Carlos Beltran both coming off the books after 2013; they’re going to need to sign Adam Wainwright, but the departure of Pujols truly freed the Cardinals to do other things. Greinke would be great in St. Louis.

In the end, it comes down to what the Dodgers are willing to do. Cash is no object; they have money with their new ownership and they’re spending it.

Would I sign Greinke? If I had the money to spend and the agreeable, relaxed venue, I would. Greinke in New York, Boston, or Philadelphia is not a good idea.

Will it be a retrospective mistake for the team that signs him? It’s a lot of money and that amount of money for a pitcher is a risk. That said, Greinke is 29 and keeps himself in shape. As far as pitchers go, he’s more likely than most to be able to stay healthy and productive for the length of a 6-7 year deal.

Prediction: Greinke will sign with the Dodgers.

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Who Cares What Michael Kay Says?

Hall Of Fame, History, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2012 Baseball Guide, Players

Getting angry at Michael Kay for what he says is like screaming at your cat if he throws up on the floor. He’ll look at you, uncomprehendingly, then go about his business without understanding why you’re yelling. Nor will he care. Then when he feels like throwing up again, he’ll do so, probably in the exact same spot he threw up in the last time.

Kay is the obnoxious Yankee fan at whom even his fellow Yankees’ fans cringe, hoping that at some point, he’ll shut up or go home so they can enjoy the game. The major difference is that he happens to be the Yankees’ play-by-play announcer on the YES Network and has a mid-afternoon radio show on ESPN in New York. Now there’s an uproar on Twitter because Kay said (I’m paraphrasing) that he hopes the Mets lose every game for the rest of the season. He also said that he stands by his statement because the Mets fans weren’t interested in having a civil discourse, so he “handled” it in his own way.

Handled it?

Does he have a special phone with access to the Baseball Gods with Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Babe Ruth, Alexander Cartwright and Christy Mathewson so he can make his petulant, “I know you are but what am I?” whims come to fruition?

Who cares what Michael Kay says about anything? Does his tantrum have one ounce of an effect on the rest of the Mets’ season? No. So why reply to it?

The easy temptation here is to cite the numerous examples of why Kay’s not someone who should be paid attention to in regards to a baseball-related matter, but why? It’s like arguing with a monkey. The end result is to exhaust yourself with nothing resolved or accomplished. There are calls for him to be fired from ESPN Radio and accusations of unprofessionalism, but the scuttlebutt is that Kay is probably on his way out at ESPN by the new year and he’s never exhibited any form of objective professionalism to begin with, so why enable his childish ranting by engaging him?

He doesn’t like social media and the way fans react to him? He has a choice: block them, ignore them, or fight with them. This silliness of wishing the Mets to lose every game for the rest of the season is something out of the third grade, which is convenient because that’s essentially the venue where Kay would be on an even playing field in a baseball argument. And he’d lose.

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