MLB Hot Stove: New York Yankees Looking At Wrong Royals Pitcher

Kate ConroySenior Analyst IIDecember 2, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 9:  Starting pitcher Zach Greinke #23 of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch against the New York Yankees on April 9, 2008 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

Rumor has it that the Kansas City Royals have been dangling 2009 CY Young winner Zack Greinke as trade bait to the New York Yankees.

This seems sketchy when you consider that Greinke has a no-trade clause in his contract, with the Yankees being first on the list.

Greinke has also suffered major depression and anxiety issues that have interfered with his playing time.

Even as a Yankee fan, it is completely understandable why playing in the Bronx would not be ideal for a player tormented with Greinke’s problems.

New York’s big lights cause major pressure, and good pitchers have collapsed under them too many times—just look at Javier Vazquez or Carl Pavano.

Looking at that the meek 2010 free agent pitchers market, Cliff Lee is the only certifiable superstar on it.

It is no secret that the Yankees are rolling out the red carpet for Lee. The Royals are well aware that if Lee is not in pinstripes next season, the Yankees could go all out in desperation for an arm like Greinke.

Greinke is a 27-year-old righty who in seven seasons has a career ERA of 3.82.

Over the last two seasons, Greinke has thrown nine complete games and three shutouts. He also threw for 450 innings, giving up only 29 home runs and striking out 423 batters.

Greinke wants to be on a winning team, but what player doesn’t? But the reality for Greinke is the Royals are not going to win the World Series anytime soon.

Still, my initial thought was why would the Royals not keep the only certified superstar on their roster?

Well, a few weeks back I found out the answer to this watching the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game.

One of the starting pitchers, whom scouts consider the “next Cliff Lee," is sitting in the Royals farm system.

This southpaw’s name is Mike Montgomery. Like Lee, Montgomery stands at 6’5" but it’s actually his throwing form that is identical.

Montgomery has the same easy arm action and downhill angle that makes Lee so hard to hit. Also, Lee’s mini-me possesses a fastball that hovers around the low to mid 90’s.

So, understandably, the similarities have scouts drooling and the Royals know Montgomery could be even better than Lee if he keeps progressing at this rate.

Still, imagine having Greinke and Montgomery as a one-two punch. Then realize it’s the Royals and if no one else on your team can play, what’s the point?

This whole scenario is a long shot and one that I do not want the Yankees to toil in even if Lee goes astray.

The risk is bigger than the reward here and the Yankees know from the past that giving up homegrown talent is a bad idea, especially for a pitcher with mental problems.

Why are the Yankees not asking about Monte? He would be cheaper, younger and that would be a change of pace if they could pry this kid from the Royals at all.