Jul 232012
 
Zack Greinke 2

So, for those of you that have listened to Episode 16 of the Baseball Do Podcast, you know we are focusing first on some of the bigger names with the Trade Target Profiles.  I was tempted to jump to Cliff Lee today (as we dedicated a good amount of time on the podcast to a Lee-Rangers reunion), but decided instead to opt for Greinke in the off chance that we hear any news related to a Cole Hamels extension (which impacts Lee’s availability).

Donald Zachary Greinke

The Player

Potential Trade Target Profile: Zack GreinkeFirst things first, if Greinke ever dons a Rangers jersey, I think we should all agree right now to call him “Donald”.  Just has a good ring to it…

Greinke, like the previously profiled Cole Hamels, is a free agent after the 2012 season, so should be viewed as a rental.  The Rangers would obviously have an opportunity to negotiate with Greinke for an extension if he were traded to the team, but it’s likely that the young (age 28) pitcher will hit the open market this winter.

Greinke won the 2009 American League Cy Young award, which was also his only All-Star season.   As you can see below in the “Measurable’, Greinke was nothing short of dominant in 2009 but has failed receive a single Cy Young vote in any other season.

Part of what makes Greinke so attractive is his potential.  Don’t get me wrong, he is a front line starter now, but at the age of 28 (turns 29 in October), he should have his best years still ahead of him and has shown that he has the talent and make-up to be something special.

That said, the price tag for Greinke should be lower than Hamels and much lower than a player who is locked up beyond 2012 (Lee & Upton).

In a poll conducted by MLBTradeRumors.com, Greinke is currently the runner up to Hamels in terms of which starter rumored to be on the market would provide the biggest boost.  Hamels has dominated the results, garnering 59% of the total to Greinke’s 19% (note: Cliff Lee is not included in poll).

One final note on Greinke…he has a history of mental illness as he was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety disorder a few years ago.  He momentarily gave up on baseball, but returned to the game after getting diagnosed and treated for his illness.  This isn’t a joking matter and not something that should be taken lightly…by Greinke or the Rangers.

The Measurables

Year Age Tm W L ERA G CG IP H HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP SO/BB
2004 20 KCR 8 11 3.97 24 0 145.0 143 26 26 100 120 1.166 3.85
2005 21 KCR 5 17 5.80 33 2 183.0 233 23 53 114 76 1.563 2.15
2006 22 KCR 1 0 4.26 3 0 6.1 7 1 3 5 116 1.579 1.67
2007 23 KCR 7 7 3.69 52 0 122.0 122 12 36 106 124 1.295 2.94
2008 24 KCR 13 10 3.47 32 1 202.1 202 21 56 183 125 1.275 3.27
2009 25 KCR 16 8 2.16 33 6 229.1 195 11 51 242 205 1.073 4.75
2010 26 KCR 10 14 4.17 33 3 220.0 219 18 55 181 100 1.245 3.29
2011 27 MIL 16 6 3.83 28 0 171.2 161 19 45 201 104 1.200 4.47
2012 28 MIL 9 3 3.57 20 0 116.0 117 7 28 117 117 1.250 4.18
9 Yrs 85 76 3.80 258 12 1395.2 1399 138 353 1249 114 1.255 3.54
162 Game Avg. 12 11 3.80 37 2 200 200 20 51 179 114 1.255 3.54
KCR (7 yrs) 60 67 3.82 210 12 1108.0 1121 112 280 931 116 1.264 3.33
MIL (2 yrs) 25 9 3.72 48 0 287.2 278 26 73 318 109 1.220 4.36
AL (7 yrs) 60 67 3.82 210 12 1108.0 1121 112 280 931 116 1.264 3.33
NL (2 yrs) 25 9 3.72 48 0 287.2 278 26 73 318 109 1.220 4.36
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2012.

As noted, Greinke’s 2009 season stands out when you look at his full career – almost to the point where you could easily argue that 2009 is the outlier and some blend of 2008 and 2010 are much more likely from a results standpoint.

  • Greinke’s current WAR for 2012 is 2.0, which is the exact same as that of Colby Lewis and Yu Darvish, which begs the question as to how big of an improvement he is over our current starters.
  • Greinke has pitched at Rangers Ballpark 6 times in his career (5 of which were starts), and has a record of 2-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 1.029 WHIP – for whatever that’s worth.
  • Greinke’s salary is $13.5M (same in 2011).
  • Among the list of most comparable players to Greinke (in terms of performance), both James Shields and Oil Can Boyd are top comparisons – now that’s a party.

Could Donald (aka Greinke) be a Ranger?

Potential Trade Target Profile: Zack Greinke

First order of business required is that the Brewers officially start shopping the young pitcher.  While they haven’t fully declared themselves as sellers, getting swept by the division leading Reds over the weekend got them one step closer to doing just that.  It’s strongly believed that the Brewers will indeed try to trade Greinke…assuming they don’t make a push to extend his contract, as the Phillies are doing with Hamels now.

In the last podcast, Jasen and I talked briefly about Zack Greinke as a trade target for the Rangers and explored the idea of his status as an “Ace”.  Whether you want to classify him as that or not, you can’t argue that he is one of the top 3 (if not 2) starters on the trade market right now.  Whether or not he would be a Game 1 starter in a playoff series may not be as important as if he would be one of our four starters in a playoff series – in other words, does he improve our starting rotation?

I’m of the belief that he does.  While he may not provide as big of an impact as Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee (debatable), he would definitely be an upgrade in the rotation.

What would it take to get Greinke to Texas?  Via trade, the Brewers would have interest in Mike Olt (as everyone does) as well as a number of the Rangers young pitching prospects – most notably Martin Perez.  Given Greinke is only a 3 month rental, I would envision the deal consisting of Perez and another mid-level prospect headed to Milwaukee in return for his services.  Via free agency after the season, I’d guess 6 years/$110M.

Remember, unless the Brewers and Greinke reach a long-term agreement, Greinke will be on the free agent market after the season.  So, while the Rangers may have some interest in Greinke long-term, they don’t have to make the move now via trade. However, if the goal is to add a front line starter to the rotation in 2012 (and the Rangers believe Greinke is indeed a front line starter), then they’ll have to reach a deal and give up on some young talent.

In the end, I’d give better odds to a deal for Greinke happening than I would for Hamels, Lee or Upton.

Got a request for who we profile next?  Leave a comment.

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