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The Royals may want to rethink the way they talk about the Greinke trade

Dec 22, 2010, 5:35 PM EDT

Zack Greinke

Unlike a lot of folks, I’m actually pretty OK with the Zack Greinke trade from the Royals’ perspective.  No, you don’t always “win” a trade when you give up the best player in the deal — indeed, you rarely do — but “Zack Greinke: Kansas City Royal” was just not a viable possibility going forward and the Zack Greinke we see in Milwaukee next year is probably not the same pitcher we would have seen if he stayed. He was not happy with the Royals. The Royals did get some useful pieces.  It’s not an awful deal.

Which makes me wonder about this description of the trade from a Royals’ spokesman (which came in the same marketing article I linked a while ago):

“It’s not just us trying to spin this the best way we can. There are lots of baseball experts (executives and scouts) telling us this was not only the right thing to do, but probably the best-case scenario under the circumstances of trading Zack.”

Cook said the team hopes this trade works out similarly to when the Minnesota Twins traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to the New York Mets for four of their best prospects.

I’m going to be charitable here and assume that Mr. Cook — the team spokeman — meant that it would be similar to the Santana deal in the “our team will be able to go on and win a bunch of ballgames and a couple of AL Central titles despite trading away our ace” sense. Not similar in the “wow, we may have just made the worst trade on a talent-for-talent basis in modern memory” sense.  Because that is a pretty fair way to describe the Santana trade.

  1. Paul White - Dec 22, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    FWIW – Toby Cook used to be a local newscaster here in KC before leaving that gig to take his current role with the Royals. I can pretty much guarantee that he knows the not-so-great outcome of the Santana trade for the Twins, because during his time on television and his appearances on local talk radio since taking the Royals gig he’s come across as a pretty knowledgeable baseball fan in addition to being a team spokesperson. On top of that, while I’ve never met him personally I know many people who have, and he is considered, pretty much city-wide, to be one of the nicest people alive. Put that all together and it’s fair to say that he’s earned the benefit of the doubt on this one.

  2. The Rabbit - Dec 22, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    I haven’t commented on the Greinke trade as yet; however, this post may be as good a place as any.
    If I have followed the Royals post season roster moves, the team signed Francouer and Melky Cabrera and traded Zack (and Betancourt) for some prospects. Even a master BS artist like Karl Rove would have difficulty spinning this to the Royals advantage.
    In addition, if the way the organization handled Alex Gordon is any indication of its ability to develop young talent, I’m not encouraged by the influx of prospects.

    • smoothjimmyapollo - Dec 23, 2010 at 9:51 AM

      @The Rabbit: Look at it like this. Offensively, the Royals break even on Betancourt, but defensively, Escobar is going to be something special. Cain is a very good defensive outfielder who will probably be a guy who hits around .270, but can steal 30 or more bases in a season. Jeffress will probably be a closer-type, but the kid can hit upper 90s with his fastball. He is, however, one substance-related infraction away from a lifetime suspension. Odorizzi is probably the most-even aspect of the trade talent-wise for Greinke, but he’s a few years away from being a big leaguer.

      As far as developing talent, I’ve always said Yost would be an excellent minor league manager because of his willingness to stick by a struggling player. He inherited a 106 loss team and in 3 years he had them at .500. I’m sure Royals fans would kill for a .500 season as they’ve had 3 in the last 20 years.

      • The Rabbit - Dec 23, 2010 at 1:31 PM

        @Jimmy
        I’ve seen Cain play and I agree completely with your description.
        There are very few really first rate ML shortstops these days. Betancourt is clearly not in that category, so it will be interesting to see how Escobar develops.
        Minor league pitchers are always a question mark. Hell, most major league pitchers are a question mark with the potential for injury.

        For Royals fans, I hope that the kids pan out. I’m just not convinced that ownership with a WalMart value system (Sell lower quality, make lots of money for shareholders and management) is committed to putting a real winner on the field. That mindset is not restricted to the Royals. (See: Pirates and Marlins)

  3. Glenn - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    The Royals could have done worse in their trade for Zeinke – they could have traded him for Francouer and Melky, or the package that the Twins got. They could have also gotten the guys the Vikings got for Herschel Walker. They gave away the only reason to show up to watch them in 2011, but I happen to be one of those guys who like to watch great pitching. I’ll root for Zeinke wherever he goes because he is a great talent and human interest story. Posnanski sold me on him a long time ago. He’s one of the rare talents who I will root for against my own team – as long as his bullpen can blow it.

  4. paul1990 - Dec 23, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    I think this is a great move for the Royals. I wouldn’t want someone around who wasn’t 100% into the organization and what they are doing. Let’s be honest…Dayton Moore has done a wonderful job with the farm system. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know baseball. That being said, I can see why people are skeptical of him given the fact he signed Gullien, Ankiel, Podsednik. But, they got Francouer and Melky for next to nothing and they’re very young. The Royals have some power arms in their farm system who are about a year or so away. The kids they got from the Brewers have a great upside. I think you have to give the Royals 2-years to really judge them. I’m a Royals lifer and excited to see what’s on the horizon!

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