Potential Trade Packages and Landing Spots for MLB Ace Zack Greinke
Entering play Thursday, the Arizona Diamondbacks sat at 52-51, on the fringe of the National League playoff chase. It's possible they will buy at the trade deadline or at least stand pat.
More likely, they'll continue the retool they initiated this offseason when they traded franchise first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals.
If they go that route, the Diamondbacks should dangle ace right-hander Zack Greinke, whose name has churned through the rumor mill. The 35-year-old six-time All-Star is 10-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 135 innings and has extensive postseason experience.
Let's examine five teams that could be a fit for Greinke and the packages they might surrender. Some of them appear on his 15-team no-trade list, but we'll assume he'd be willing to waive his no-trade rights in certain cases.
The Philadelphia Phillies need a postseason-tested ace to boost a starting rotation that ranks 16th with a 4.49 ERA.
They've checked in with the Diamondbacks about Greinke, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi. While Morosi added the talks "aren't serious," that could change.
The Phils are well under MLB's luxury tax threshold this season and next, even after inking Bryce Harper to a record-breaking deal. They could swallow the remainder of the $34.5 million Greinke is owed this season and the $35 million he's owed in 2020 and 2021.
Alternately, if the D-backs were willing to eat a bit of money, the Phillies could offer a higher-end prospect such as right-hander Adonis Medina. The 22-year-old has a middling 4.34 ERA and only 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings at Double-A, but he boasts the arsenal of at least a mid-rotation big league starter.
The Phillies are on Greinke's no-trade list. There are obstacles.
But, as Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic noted, "Teams often work around [no-trade] provisions, especially if the player is compensated in some form for doing so."
New York Yankees
Like the Phillies, the New York Yankees could take on Greinke's contract and accept a smaller return. Lately, however, the Yanks have eschewed their old pay-what-it-takes ways with a tendency toward financial restraint.
Still, Greinke would undeniably boost their chances at winning title No. 28. They've got a deep lineup and stout bullpen, but their starting staff owns a so-so 4.45 ERA and ace Luis Severino (shoulder) hasn't pitched an inning all season.
If they expect the D-backs to offset some salary, they could offer right-hander Deivi Garcia, who has a 3.17 ERA with 124 strikeouts in 76.2 innings across High-A, Double-A and Triple-A this season. That's a steep price, but this is the Bronx. Winning now ought to be all that matters.
The Yankees are on Greinke's no-trade list. But, as we noted with the Phils, such things are negotiable.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres almost surely aren't going to make the playoffs this year. But they're poised to be a serious contender next season and beyond.
They're also on Greinke's no-trade list. Then again, who doesn't want to play for a burgeoning contender in a place with basically perfect weather?
If the Pads want Arizona to cough up cash, which they surely would, they could offer right-hander Michel Baez. The 23-year-old struck out 38 in 27 innings with a 2.00 ERA at Double-A and then jumped a level to make his big league debut.
Assuming the cash considerations are right, Greinke could be a key part of the Friars' ascent as he throws his home games at pitcher friendly Petco Park.
The up-and-coming Atlanta Braves are primed for a deep playoff run. Yet, despite the free-agent addition of lefty Dallas Keuchel, their rotation is tied for 11th with a 4.23 ERA.
Unlike the previous teams mentioned, the Braves aren't on Greinke's no-trade list. And they have a loaded farm system that's laden with young pitchers.
Right-hander Ian Anderson boasts a 2.80 ERA with 129 strikeouts in 99.2 innings at Double-A. If the Braves offered him, they could rightly ask the D-backs to pay a significant hunk of Greinke's salary.
It could be a win-win, with the lefty-righty duo of Keuchel and Greinke guiding Atlanta to October glory.
In December 2010, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Greinke from the Kansas City Royals. In 2011, he helped guide them to the playoffs while posting an MLB-leading 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings in the regular season.
The Brewers dealt him to the Los Angeles Angels prior to the 2012 deadline, but the past connection is undeniable. Add the fact that Milwaukee is not on Greinke's no-trade list, and this feels like a natural match.
The Brewers are locked in a tight NL Central battle even as their rotation ranks No. 20 with a 4.80 ERA. They need arms.
The mid-market Brewers would almost assuredly expect the Diamondbacks to take on some salary, but they could entice the Snakes with a package built around toolsy outfielder Corey Ray and bat-missing right-hander Marcos Diplan.
Maybe the second Greinke/Brewers pairing would be even more fruitful than the last.
All statistics current as of Thursday and courtesy of Baseball Reference.