What Zack Greinke thinks about pitching in New York
|10.26.10 at 1:19 pm ET|
According to several reports, the Kansas City Royals will entertain pitches for 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. It is expected that it would take an enormous prospect package to acquire the Royals ace, who is young (he just turned 27 last week), affordable (he is under contract in 2011 and 2012 for $13.5 million, relatively short money for a pitcher of his talents) and armed with stuff that is comparable to just about any pitcher in baseball.
Greinke, one year removed from his dazzling Cy Young campaign, struggled in 2010. He was 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA, more than two runs higher than his 2009 mark. Even so, many observers thought that the right-hander might have been disinterested while pitching for a Royals club that was once again a last place club. Greinke himself suggested as much towards the end of the year, telling MLB.com that he had indeed struggled with motivation, and that he would consider changing his medication for a social anxiety disorder in order to help deal with the issue.
With many teams feeling that Greinke’s 2010 performance was something of an aberration, his appeal this offseason will be tremendous. His talent makes him a lower-cost alternative to Cliff Lee, with few other pitchers able to match his stature.
But, a question looms over where Greinke might be willing to pitch. The topic is somewhat delicate, given the social anxiety disorder that had him on the brink of quitting the game in 2006, and had Royals officials fearing more for his health and well-being than his pitching future. If, for instance, the Yankees prove unable to land Lee in free agency, Greinke would appear the only top-of-the-rotation alternative who would be available this winter.
But the question exists as to whether Greinke would be a fit for a team in New York with a press corps and fan base several times the size of that to which the right-hander has become accustomed in Kansas City. Indeed, Greinke himself suggested in 2009 that part of the reason he signed a four-year, $38 million deal with the Royals was his comfort with the environment. And while he said that he has progressed sufficiently in his treatment that he could imagine pitching somewhere else, he admitted that he found it hard to imagine pitching in New York.
“[The environment] had a lot to do with [signing the extension], for sure,” Greinke said at the 2009 All-Star Game. “Now, maybe New York would bother me, but I don’t think anywhere else would bother me anymore. Even though I’m in Kansas City, I’ve gotten used to it a lot more. New York, I still might have trouble in New York. I probably would. But I think almost everyone does.”
Greinke, FoxSports.com reported earlier this offseason, will have the right to veto trades to 15 teams in 2011. This past season, when he had the right to veto deals to 20 clubs, the report stated, both the Yankees and Red Sox were on the list of teams to whom he had the right to veto a deal. And while that is sometimes merely a negotiating ploy to extract more money from potentially interested clubs, in Greinke’s case, the issue could be more delicate than that.
As MLB Network and NESN analyst Peter Gammons said on The Big Show on Friday:
“I can’t believe [the Yankees would] ever trade for Greinke and try to have him pitch in New York. I think he’s better off pitching in Greenland.”
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