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The biggest reason the Royals may be better off without Zack Greinke is Greinke himself.
Set aside that will miss the beginning of the season due to a cracked rib. There's no question that Greinke vastly improved the Royals' pitching staff -- when he was motivated. But at the same time he added an unnecessary cloud over the Royals. When things weren't going his way, whether with his arm or in the field, he let his negative emotions show as though he were blaming everyone else but himself for any struggles on the field. This is a pitching no-no. Regardless of how your team is playing in the field, you must keep your composure on the mound, and Greinke wasn't very good at doing so.
Greinke had motivation troubles at the end of his career in Kansas City. If you were to say he pitched his heart out every time on the mound, you'd be wrong. While his Cy Young performance in 2009 was beyond impressive, Greinke himself said that he lost some motivation, felt burned out, and was having problems with his social anxiety disorder in 2010.
After his great rookie year, he fell off the following season because he felt too confident. He did the same in 2010 coming off a Cy Young award winning season in 2009.
Yes, I can see how it might be hard to get motivated to pitch for the Royals, especially when at the halfway point in the season there is no chance of making the playoffs. But when your No. 1 pitcher can't get motivated to play, it brings down the rest of the team. And with so many young players this year, that would not have been a good thing.
Greinke is also the kind of guy that doesn't like to get much attention. That's hard to avoid when you're the No. 1 pitcher, regardless of where you play.
"I really don't like having a bunch of attention, so even if I did see myself in that light, I don't do anything about it," he said. "I'm real uncomfortable doing stuff like that, to be around people and doing stuff like that," he said in an interview with the Associated Press after winning the 2009 AL Cy Young award.
Kansas City isn't a big market team, and the Royals fans aren't known for demanding too much of their team.
Being with the Milwaukee Brewers is a different situation. Milwaukee is a slightly bigger baseball market. The past two years the Brewers have finished in 3rd place in the NL Central. The purpose of bringing in Greinke was to improve their chances to compete with St. Louis and Cincinnati. They want to get back to the postseason as they did in 2008 behind C.C. Sabbathia, and are hoping that adding Zack Greinke to the rotation will help accomplish that.
Had Greinke not cracked his rib and started the season healthy, he'd still have to compete with Yovani Gallardo for the No. 1 spot. This is not something he's used to. He's used to being the ace and being handed that No. 1 spot in the rotation. And when Greinke gets overly confident, he loses motivation to pitch well. Maybe being in Milwaukee will change this for him, but what's going to happen late in the season if it's apparent the Brewers won't make the postseason? Will he give up? Will he get burnt out? How will he start off in 2012?
The Brewers will have a tough task ahead of them competing with the Cardinals and Reds.
But what if the Brewers have a fighting chance to make the postseason? How will Greinke handle that? Milwaukee might not have the most intense fans in baseball, but if they have a chance to make the playoffs, you can be assured that the Brewers fans will be a lot more demanding of Greinke than Royals fans were. Greinke is not used to demanding fans.
I'm a fan of Zack Greinke and I wish him well in Milwaukee and hope he gets back to Cy Young form. But Greinke is unpredictable.
The Royals will no longer have to worry about that. This opens new opportunities for the Royals and their starting pitching staff. The Greinke cloud is gone from Kansas City.