When Cliff Lee signs – wherever that may be – the domino’s are going to fall, but the options after Lee are minimal. And someone is going to get overpaid as a result…probably many someone’s. And that is literally the ONLY reason the Bombers should consider trading for Zack Greinke if they miss out on Lee. Greinke is a bargain when you look at his contract for the next 2 seasons – he’s set to make $13.5-million in both 2011 and 2012. And, according to “sources”, Greinke has changed his tune on his big market fears – according to Yahoo sports the 2009 Cy Young winner would be willing to accept a trade to a team that gives him a chance to win…including the Yankees. Of course, that was 2 days ago. Yesterday Jon Heyman reported that an acquaintance of Greinke’s said New York would be a “bad fit” for the pitcher who has had problems with anxiety disorder in his past.
While it’s nice that Greinke has changed his tune and would be happy to have a chance to win, he does NOT give the Yankees a much better chance of winning. I know he won the Cy Young 2 seasons ago, and I know how dominant he can be. But think back to the last righty to join the Yankees and have great, sustained success. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Seriously, go back 20 years and there have been what could generously be called a “few”. There was Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens (who I only grudgingly put onto this list now that we know what we know), and El Duque. And, really, El Duque isn’t on this list unless I’m being charitable. Must be the holiday season affecting me. Go back even further. Go back 30 years, and you might be able to add Phil Niekro to the list – if you can call 2 seasons sustained. But for every Mussina and Clemens, I’ll raise you a Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright or Ed Whitson.
Success does not spawn from many right hands on the mound at Yankee Stadium. I guess it figures, since the man who built the previous version (his name was George Herman) threw left-handed.
And, I know it’s a small sample size, but Greinke has not had great success in the Bronx in his career. In 4 career appearances – 3 starts – Zack is 0-2 with an 8.82 ERA. I know ERA is deceiving in 4 appearances, but his career WHIP at Yankee stadium is over 2.200, and he’s given up 26 hits and 4 homeruns in 16.1 innings pitched. The sample size seems less important with every subsequent number you look at. And numbers aside, there were just too many times last season when Greinke looked anything but dominant, pitching in a very low stress environment.
The question needs to be asked, what would it take for the Royals to give Greinke up. Since he IS so affordable, they will almost certainly ask for a huge package for the righty, with some speculating K.C. would want Jesus Montero and at least one of the Yanks top pitching prospects – likely Manuel Banuelos or Dellin Betances. Say what you want about minor league prospects, and the crap-shoot nature of predicting major league success, but if the Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera negotiations this winter have taught us anything it’s that the Yankees really need to prepare for their future every once in a while so they don’t get stuck with a bunch of old guys on their huge payroll. Who’s the next DJ? The next Mo? Don’t worry, I’ll wait. I know they can replace those guys with someone from outside the organization, but does that guarantee any more success than developing their replacements? No.
So, if Brian Cashman can get the Royals to take AJ Burnett in return, maybe – just maybe – I’d make that deal. I like those odds about as much as I like Kansas City to win their division next season – even with Zack Greinke.