7 Reasons the New York Yankees Should Revisit Trading for Zack Greinke
If you have been a veteran of this website like I have, you will remember this song and dance of almost two years ago.
There were two really big pitching targets that were on the market—one via free agency and one via trade.
The New York Yankees were linked to both of them, but didn't get either of them.
The first was Cliff Lee, who the Yankees offered big-time money for, but decided to reject the Yankees offer to return to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Since that winter, the Yankees have pieced together their starting rotation with guys like Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Hiroki Kuroda and even getting Andy Pettitte to come out of retirement.
The Yankees tried trading for Michael Pineda, but in the short-term of that deal, it's looked like a bust because Pineda has been out for the entire 2012 season with a shoulder tear.
The Yankees need pitching and they need guys to help CC Sabathia, not just in the short term of 2012, but in the long-term of their future as well.
Two years ago, I was not in favor of trying to trade for Greinke, mostly because I wanted the Yankees to get Lee.
Two years later, I am changing my tune for Greinke.
Here are seven reasons why the Yankees should revisit looking into a possible trade for Greinke.
The Brewers Cannot Afford Him in 2013, the Yankees Could....
Jon Heyman from CBS Sports and WFAN wrote a very interesting column on Tuesday about the situation with Greinke and the Brewers.
In the story, Heyman stated that while Greinke loves playing in Milwaukee and the Brewers would love to keep him, they won't be able to afford him.
The Brewers know they aren't able to hold onto pending free agents who are due for pay raises, such as CC Sabathia and Prince Fielder.
Greinke is making $13.5 million in 2012, and given that he's one of the best right-handers in the game who has also won a Cy Young, he's due for a significant pay raise.
Milwaukee knows their funds are limited. They might be able to offer Greinke a significant raise, but not by much.
The Yankees still have the money left over from when Cliff Lee snubbed them two winters ago ($25 million per season). They would be able to afford taking on Greinke.
The Yankees do have to address Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin's contract situations, but those will get taken care of either way.
As far as money goes, the Yankees have it, and if they feel like a guy is worth it, they will spend it to make the team better.
2009 A.L. Cy Young Winner
Three years ago, Greinke was the best pitcher in the American League.
A 16-8 record with a 2.16 ERA in 33 starts with 229.1 innings and 242 strikeouts. Absolutely dominant, and that was pitching for a losing team.
Greinke was also only 25 years old when he won that award too, in just the beginning stages of his career at Kansas City.
Last year, he showed that he can dominate pitching in the National League with the Brewers, which has carried over into 2012.
But Greinke isn't the typical "only has success in the weaker league" pitcher. He dominated in the American League with tougher lineups and dealing with the DH every night.
Zack Greinke Would Pitch for the Yankees
Back when Greinke was on the Royals, everyone thought he didn't want to pitch for the Yankees because he had them on his no-trade list.
Two years ago, that was all proven wrong when Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports broke the story that Greinke would be OK with a trade of going to the Yankees.
“I wouldn’t put it past him to go to New York,” the source said. “I don’t think he’d rule out anybody. He says he likes New York. Especially because they’re winners. He wants to go to a team that wins."
Greinke wants to win. Shocker, most athletes do.
When Greinke was traded by the Royals to the Brewers, it made Milwaukee a playoff contender in 2011, as they won the National League Central Division and made it to the NLCS, losing to the Cardinals.
A year later, the Brewers without Prince Fielder don't seem to have that same look of a contender, and if Greinke wants to continue playing for a championship contender, he might have to do it elsewhere, which is where New York plays in.
Putting Greinke with Sabathia, Pettitte, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Kuroda would make for a very good rotation.
Having Greinke and Sabathia would be one of the best 1-2 punches on top of any rotation.
I like the fact that Greinke would welcome playing in New York. I think other Yankee fans would like the idea too.
The Anxiety Issue Seems to Be a Thing of the Past
Six years ago, Greinke almost quit baseball.
In 2006, he was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and had to seek therapy for it.
He battled back and overcame it, not allowing it to take over and ruin his potential career.
Greinke knows that being a professional athlete means being in the spotlight all the time and being under the public and media scrutiny; it goes with the territory.
He didn't let the anxiety disorder ruin his baseball career and has developed into a fantastic pitcher.
He's pitched in the All Star Game in 2009, won the Cy Young Award in 2009 and even got his first crack at the postseason with the Brewers in 2011.
I think it's safe to say that the social anxiety disorder is a thing of the past for Greinke, and it wouldn't have to be something the Yankees would have to worry about if attempting to trade for him.
Two years ago, when I wrote about why the Yankees should stay away from Greinke, one of my biggest reasons was that he had zero postseason experience.
That was true when he was pitching for the Royals.
Last year, that changed when he pitched for the Brewers.
Greinke started Game 2 against the Diamondbacks of the NLDS, and while he didn't have the best performance ever, he still gave a strong effort in five innings and struck out seven batters.
Greinke then started Game 1 of the NLCS against the Cardinals and won the game, going six innings and striking out six for his first ever playoff win of his career.
With the NLCS tied at 2-2, the Brewers sent Greinke back on the mound for a pivotal Game 5. Greinke pitched decent, (he allowed five runs but only two were earned) in 5.2 innings, but the Cardinals held Milwaukee to just one run in the game.
Greinke ended the postseason with a 1-1 record, a 6.48 ERA, 16.2 innings pitched and 13 strikeouts.
Not the best introduction ever for pitching in the postseason, but maybe Greinke will have a better second go if he ever gets the opportunity.
The Brewers Don't Want to Get Stuck with Nothing in 2013
There's a reason why teams trade players on the verge of free agency.
They know they can't afford them, so instead of letting them walk away and getting nothing out of it, they at least trade them to a contender to rebuild for their future.
Then there are teams who probably wished they had dealt a superstar on the verge of free agency, like the Mets with Jose Reyes.
Reyes as a rental could have brought back the Mets some decent value in a trade last summer, but they instead decided to gamble and lost when he bolted for the Miami Marlins.
The Brewers know there's a really good chance that they can't afford Greinke and he could be gone by the winter.
Do they want him to walk away and Milwaukee gets nothing as a result of it, or do they see what a team is willing to give them in a trade and rebuild for the future?
I think a trade would be the best solution, which will lead me into my next slide....
The Future of the Yankees' Prized Pitching Prospects
For a few years now, we've all known about the "Killer B's," which is the Yankees prized pitching prospects in Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.
If the Yankees are involved in any rumors for a pitcher or a hitter, these two always come up as a center piece of a deal.
Last summer, there was a lot of talk about the Yankees being interested in Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies, which would have cost the Yankees either one or both of Banuelos and Betances.
Luckily, the Yankees shot down the Rockies on that offer and moved on, because Jimenez was not worth that kind of deal.
Greinke, on the other hand, might be worth it given his proven track record.
The Yankees keep waiting to see if Banuelos and Betances will develop into the stars that everyone expects, but how long can they keep waiting when they are trying to win championships every single season?
Their biggest concern is control and harnessing their pitching ability. Both guys know how to throw, but if they can't learn how to pitch, then they don't help the Yankees in the long run.
I think Banuelos is the ultimate untouchable in the Yankees' system. A lot of people see him as the next great pitcher.
Betances, in my mind, is a little more expendable and could be had for the right price.
Conclusion: The Proposed Trade Offer
So in the end, here is what I am proposing.
The Yankees need a proven ace to team up with Sabathia.
The Brewers need young talent to rebuild for the future.
So for Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Brewers GM Doug Melvin, here's a potential trade that can be laid out for them.
The Yankees get Zack Greinke.
The Brewers get Dellin Betances, Eduardo Nunez, Austin Romine and Adam Warren.
It works for the Brewers because they are getting not just one, but two pitchers in the deal with Betances and Warren.
Betances would be able to continue developing in Milwaukee and maybe even crack their rotation a lot sooner, as would Warren.
Warren doesn't look like he'll ever get the chance to make the Yankees rotation, but he's got promise to be a nice No. 3 or 4 starter in someone else's rotation, so why not let him get the opportunity with\the Brewers?
Nunez would get the chance to play wherever Milwaukee would want him, and Romine wouldn't have to spend his career as a backup, which he would since the Yankees view Gary Sanchez as their future starting catcher.
It works for the Yankees because they get Greinke and would be able to lock him up to a long-term deal, giving him the contract he would desire while allowing him to compete for a chance to win every single season.