Milwaukee Brewers: Trading for Zack Greinke Already Looking Like a Mistake

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIMarch 9, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 18:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #13 of the Milwaukee Brewers participates in fielding drills during a MLB spring training practice at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 18, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for four prospects, they dreamed it would be the move that put them over the top in the NL Central.

Also trading for Shaun Marcum, the Brewers added two arms to go along with their ace, Yovani Gallardo, to give themselves one of the best rotations in the National League.

While most thought the Brewers might trade first baseman Prince Fielder, they've chosen to go forward with him, knowing he may just walk away at the end of this season.

This truly is an all-or-nothing season for the Brewers; that's obvious to anyone and certainly should be to Greinke.

But once again Greinke gives the baseball community a reason to question his commitment and leaves the Brewers with some sweat under their collars.

It was announced yesterday that Greinke has a broken rib and will have to miss four to six weeks, meaning he'll likely start the season on the 15-day DL. The injury actually happened a few weeks ago while Greinke was playing basketball, but he still made three spring training starts.

"Everyone told me not to do it because I was going to get hurt," Greinke said about playing basketball. "It finally caught up to me."

Yes, Zack, I'd say it did. Carelessness tends to do that.

So much is riding on this season, and by extension, Greinke himself, that the Brewers should have their players wrapped in bubble wrap.

Greinke says the injury occurred when he was going for a rebound. Who was he playing against? Dwight Howard?

At the start of the offseason, it was easy to assume the Royals would deal their ace. With another losing season on the horizon but one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, the Royals had motivation to get whatever they could for Greinke.

Many teams were interested, including the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, but both were put off by a high price tag.

The other factor to consider in any trade for Greinke was his mental makeup. Greinke's well-documented battles with social anxiety disorder and depression caused many to speculate he wouldn't be able to handle pitching in a large market, like New York, or for a contending team.

Despite these concerns, the Brewers jumped at the chance to bring Greinke in. Now we'll find out if those concerns were justified, because if the Brewers are anything, it's a contender. But along with being a contender comes added pressure and lofty expectations.

The musings about Greinke's status as a possible NL Cy Young candidate for this season were unavoidable, and with the injury to St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, this division is wide open.

Greinke is aware of all of this—at least it's safe to assume he is—but instead of focusing on being ready for spring, he's putting his health in jeopardy for a basketball game.

Greinke is a human being, of course, and no one can tell him what to do, but he seems to lack that little voice in his head, warning him to avoid certain risky activities.

This is also the guy that called his time on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009 "the worst thing that could have happened the whole entire year." So either Greinke's hatred of attention causes him to just not care about the reasons why (his talent) or be totally careless.

Maybe it's both.

Either way, Greinke doesn't seem to be aware of what the Brewers have riding on this season. They went all in for 2011 and are hoping for a payoff, but they may have taken a bigger risk than they realized when they traded for Greinke.

They can't afford to have Greinke spend any time on the DL this season, even if it's just the first two weeks of the regular season.

Hopefully Greinke will be fine and be the ace the Brewers hope he can be, but so far it's not looking like Greinke cares one way or the other.