The Angels pulled off a major coup at the trade deadline by winning the Zack Greinke Trade Sweepstakes. After a little bump at the start of his tenure in Anaheim, Greinke was every bit the frontline pitcher the Halos hoped he would be. Now, it is time for the Angels to do a whole lot more of that hope thing.
And I'm not talking about that "hopey-changey" stuff but rather that "hopey-stay the same-y" variety. Since the Angels still managed to miss the playoffs despite the addition of Greinke, their only hope (there's that word again) of salvaging their costly trade is to lock Greinke into a long-term deal. That... won't be easy.
Seeing how Greinke and the Angel front office were too busy getting to know each other and failed to consummate via contract talks during the season, they now face the prospect of Zack hitting the open market where they will face stiff competition for his services. Just how stiff? Let me show you. If I were a teenager, this would be the moment where I pull down my pants and show you my junk. Fortunately, I'm more mature than that. I'll instead look at teams potentially interested in Greinke and then I'll show you my junk. Priorities, people. Priorities.
New York Yankees - Because they need more pitching and always have money. Greinke did have them blocked on his no-trade list, but sometimes several million dollars can change one's mind.
Boston Red Sox - Thanks to the Dodgers offering them an Obama-style bailout, the Red Sox have an ungodly amount of money to throw into free agency. They might be reticent to start spending big again, especially on someone like Greinke who they reportedly have concerns about due to his mental make-up, but they might be even more reticent to enter another season with a rotation consisting mostly of hot garbage.
Baltimore Orioles - A surprise entrant thanks to their surprise season! They seem like they are set to maintain their modest payroll, but all it takes is Peter Angelos demanding a big move and Greinke becomes a logical target. They are a dark horse, but don't rule them out.
Toronto Blue Jays - Speaking of dark horses, the Jays are another team with spending limits, but they have supposedly been stashing away money for one big free agent splash. Greinke is probably too big of a splash for them, but there is speculation that their current front office regime is getting pressure to deliver a winner. Greinke might be that missing piece.
Chicago White Sox - Never ever rule out a team run by Kenny Williams. He crazy. And if he wants something, he's going to get it. Oh, by the way, this is five teams potentially in on Greinke and we still haven't finished the American League.
Texas Rangers - They want him. They've said they want him. They probably really want to keep him away from the Angels too. Go away, Texas. Nobody likes you.
Miami Marlins - An extreme longshot, but they also seem like a team dumb enough to try and remedy a nightmare season in which they spent a fortune on big signings that didn't work out by spending a ton more money on signings that they really hope work out this time. They can't be wrong twice, right?
Atlanta Braves - Not long ago, it seemed like they had too much pitching, but now they have a real need. They also only have $15 million committed in payroll commitments next season. Don't count out the Braves. Oh, and did I mention that back at the deadline Greinke allegedly claimed to have Atlanta as his top destination and that he wants to live close to his off-season home in Florida. Like, zoiks, Scoob!
Chicago Cubs - I am contractually obligated to mention the Cubs since they have the ability to spend a ton of money. They also are not very good at baseball and need to rebuild. It would make more sense for them to save their money and keep stockpiling prospects, but if they want to jumptart the process and pick a pitcher to build around, they'd be hard-pressed to find someone better than Greinke.
Los Angeles Dodgers - Hey, I just noticed that there is an elephant in this room. If one were to do a straw poll on what team they think Greinke is most likely to land on, I suspect the Dodgers would come out on top. Despite having a payroll almost at $200 million already, rumor is they aren't done flashing their cash and that they want pitching.
So there you have it, at least ten potential contestants in the Greinke sweepstakes, with at least four posing as very serious threats. And now you hopefully understand why I consider it so vital that the Halos get Greinke locked up before he hits the open market. If they don't, they get to bid with the nine other sweepstakes losers for the services of... Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson.
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Nice write up, as usual. Looking at this, I'm thinking the top three destinations for Greinke will be: 1) Atlanta 2) Texas 3) Angels. I didn't know the Braves had such tremendous payroll flexibility, but I guess it shouldn't be surprising. They have a lot of good, young, cost-controlled players (esp. pitchers) so they could afford to pay for an ace to lead their staff. And Greinke seems like a player who values personal comfort a lot, so even if the Braves offer less than other teams, I can see him going there if they are his first choice, just like how CJ took less money to sign with us last winter. And it looks like Texas will have money to spend - I just don't see them bringing back Hamilton, so they will most likely compensate for his loss by bolstering their staff. They need Greinke more than we do. I would love to see Greinke come back, he was my favorite Angels pitcher to watch last year, but I've already prepared myself for a member of the Band Aid Brigade like Haren, Marcum, or McCarthy.