Tag:Zack Greinke
Posted on: December 2, 2010 12:46 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 5:41 pm
 

Top storylines to expect at Winter Meetings

From December 6-9, baseball's offseason will kick into high gear as team officials, agents, players and media descend upon Orlando, Fla. This week, MLB Facts and Rumors will preview an aspect of the Winter Meetings each day. Today: The top storylines of the meetings.

There are three major storylines when it comes to the Winter Meetings and that's what will be dominating the airwaves. It's going to be all about free agency and possible trades Monday through Wednesday, then Thursday sees the Rule 5 draft take center stage.

That's not all that will happen, however. Below is a list of the major storylines of the meetings.

EXPANDED PLAYOFFS
The MLBPA wants owners to hold off on voting in any specific proposals for expanding the playoffs. Both sides seem to agree it is inevitable the playoffs will be expanded, but logistics such as timing, length of series and playoff bonuses need to be hashed out.

With one year remaining on the labor agreement, expanded playoffs probably won't happen until 2012, but there will be plenty of chatter around the topic as the MLBPA's executive board is currently meeting in Orlando, a week in advance of the meetings. That's not a coincidence, especially as Selig's own 14-man committee will be discussing adding two wild-card teams to the mix on Dec. 7, when they meet in Orlando. Other topics that could be touched on include expanding video replay (don't bet on it) and turning the amateur draft into a worldwide one with a slotting system.

FREE-AGENT SIGNINGS
No, it probably won't be Cliff Lee, although there will be plenty of developments in that arena during the Winter Meetings.

However, it's likely that a top free-agent name does come off the board, whether Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth or Carl Pavano.

With agents and GMs all in one place amid a haze of frenetic energy, things tend to accelerate faster toward getting things done and there is always a few significant free-agent pieces to come off the board.

CARL CRAWFORD
Of the three major free-agents left in Lee, Werth and Crawford, it's the Ray that figures to be the closest to signing. Lee is in no hurry and it's not known if there are even any bids in hand. Werth, for his part, says that negotiations haven't accelerated and figures haven't been exchanged, although that was days ago which is an entire millennia in baseball happenings.

However, Crawford has already been pitched heavily by the Angels, and the Red Sox met with him in Houston. Sounds like things are heating up. He could very well grab the lead story on many newspapers' sports sections next week.

TRADES
Every time a new free agent signs, the trade market gets clearer. For example, when the Dodgers signed Juan Uribe, that caused the Giants to strike for Miguel Tejada and essentially take themselves out of the Jason Bartlett sweepstakes. The Dodgers then sent Ryan Theriot to the Cardinals as a result of signing Uribe, which put the Cardinals in a position to decline Bartlett's services as well if they so choose.

Teams are starting to plug up gaps, which should accelerate the wheeling and dealing so GMs aren't frozen out of a player or a deal falls apart thanks to a resolution in free agency.

Zack Greinke
Greinke is going to be the popular name on the trade market, but he's not going anywhere until Cliff Lee comes off the board, and perhaps not even then. Remember, the Royals righty is two years from free agency and has a high price tag. Kansas City is holding out hope it can eventually convince Greinke to re-sign once he sees the talent around him improving.

There will be plenty of smoke surrounding Greinke, but don't be surprised if nothing comes of it.

RULE 5 DRAFT

On Thursday, the Rule 5 draft will cap the meetings and everyone will hit the airport in the afternoon. The draft will have plenty of machinations as there always seems to be a gem per year that emerges as Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla and Joakim Soria can attest to. There was no such gem in 2009, so perhaps 2010 will fix that remedy.

There were 17 selections in the first round of the '09 Rule 5 draft in the major-league phase and 19 in 2008. That means one can comfortably assume at least half of the major-league teams will be participating in the draft. There is also a Triple- and Double-A phase, although the latter is rarely taken advantage of by teams.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:12 am
 

Royals won't consider dealing Greinke in division

Greinke The Royals will not trade Zack Greinke within the division, as SI.com 's Jon Heyman reveals.

This doesn't come as a surprise, as teams are usually skittish about dealing within the division -- the notable exceptions being the Marlins and the NL West.

The Royals would prefer not to see Zack Greinke oppose them 3-5 times a year for however many years down the road, an understandable sentiment. However, to close oneself off to four bidders is foolish. The Royals need to be focused on the deal that best shapes them up to contend for years to come -- and whether Greinke is in the division or not won't matter, especially as Greinke can choose where he ends up as a free agent after 2012 anyways.

Even if the Royals privately refuse to deal Greinke within the division, there is no benefit to making that sentiment public and giving other teams leverage in knowing the pool of bidders is smaller than it might otherwise be. In addition, at least not allowing oneself to listen to a division rival could cause K.C. to lose out on a deal that it may otherwise want. What if the Tigers dangled Jacob Turner and Austin Jackson? That would make GM Dayton Moore sit up and take notice.

Moore can't afford to get the Greinke trade wrong. Too much is riding on the future of the Royals, as whatever the return is for Greinke will pair up with the influx of prospects in the system in an attempt to finally get the club competitive.

Depriving oneself of bidders in such a monumental decision is the wrong path.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 2:42 pm
 

'No way' Greinke pitches in New York

Greinke Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that there's "no way" Zack Greinke would play in New York, as a source says.

This comes on the heels of George King of the New York Post saying that Yankee sources don't believe the original report that Greinke would go to New York if it meant getting out of Kansas City.

And so the latest goes in the Greinke/New York storyline, certain to be a rumor that won't end until Greinke retires.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 5:42 pm
 

Greinke open to joining Yankees

Zack Greinke Conventional wisdom has been that Zack Greinke would be an awful fit in New York. Greinke has struggled with social anxiety disorder and then there's the whole "being a Yankee" thing and New York City and all that.

That thought was reinforced last month when it was revealed that the Yankees were one of the teams on Greinke's no-trade clause.

On Tuesday, Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan talked to a "source close to the right-hander" who said Greinke would actually welcome a trade to the Bronx.

"I don't think he'd rule out anybody," the source tells Passan, a Kansas City resident. "He says he likes New York. Especially because they're winners. He wants to go to a team that wins."

As for the no-trade clause listing large-market teams, the source tells Passan that picking those teams was for leverage. Greinke can submit 15 teams this season to which he can block a trade for 2011, but his no-trade privileges expire following the season.

After Cliff Lee, there's no real front-line starter on the free-agent market, and Greinke would be a suitable second choice (and some would argue first choice) over Lee for either the Yankees or Rangers.

Greinke, 27, had a down season in 2010, going 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA, a year after winning the Cy Young Award with a 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA. Many have tied his down year to losing interest with the losing Royals. He's publicly expressed his frustration with the Royals' losing ways and is signed through 2012, earning $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons before reaching free agency.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 23, 2010 2:17 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 5:52 pm
 

Bill James dishes on Cy Young, Greinke, etc. ...

Hot Stove League
In an interview with CBSSports.com's MLB Facts and Rumors, Bill James indicated that while he would have voted for Felix Hernandez to win the AL Cy Young Award, CC Sabathia should have gotten more love. He also added that the Royals should not trade Zack Greinke unless they get two Greinkes in return.

Bill James is an influential baseball writer, historian and statistician who published the Bill James Baseball Abstract in 1977 and helped to usher in the statistical revolution in full force today. James is responsible for such statistics as Range Factor, Win Shares and Game Score. He was also crucial in the understanding that statistics should be adjusted for park factor. James was hired by the Red Sox in 2003 and continues to work for Boston along with publishing the Bill James Handbook . MLB Facts and Rumors profiled some of James' statistical projections for the 2011 season in late October.

Below is the interview with James:

CBSSports.com: If you had a vote, who would you have selected for the AL Cy Young?

Hernandez Bill James: I would have voted for [Felix] Hernandez; however, I do think [CC] Sabathia got short shrift in the voting. Sabathia got surprisingly little support, presumably because people wrote him off because of the 91-point difference in ERA between Felix and CC. [Hernandez had a 2.27 ERA, Sabathia 3.18.] But of that 91 points, about 60 points is just a park effect. Hernandez WAS the best pitcher in the league, but I think it was close between Hernandez and Sabathia.

Do you think there is an over-emphasis on defense these days? More and more teams are moving away from the sluggers who can't field to more dynamic players that can. On one hand, this is a move towards making baseball more athletic. On the other, how important is it for a left fielder to be a good fielder if the tradeoff is a 10-20 home run swing?

Well, I wouldn't generalize about what other teams are doing, and I could not say whether there is or is not an over-emphasis on defense. Baseball is about:
  • 42 percent hitting,
  • 8 percent baserunning,
  • 37 percent pitching and
  • 13 percent fielding.
Which actually is very close to the numbers that John McGraw put out in 1906; McGraw had pitching at 30 percent, but the game has changed since then, and pitching is more central than it was. 
 
But these numbers assume a level of competence. I think if you have pitchers, fielders can do a lot to help them keep the score down. If you don't have pitchers, there isn't much the fielders can do. And if you don't have fielders, then you need really, really good pitching to survive.

There's a lot of hype around Field F/X and while it's certainly going to change the game, how significant do you anticipate the changes being? Will fielding finally be able to be quantified in a reliable fashion (or is it already?) or will much of fielding prowess still rely on scouting as opposed to stats?

We can quantify fielding pretty well now. I have a good deal of confidence in the fielding numbers we have now.  
 
What we do NOT have is the ability to PROJECT fielding reliably. Because we have been looking at batting numbers all of our lives, we know almost intuitively what the range of expectations is. But because the fielding numbers that we have are fairly new to us, we have little ability to anticipate year-to-year variations in performance.
 
Really, I have no idea what will happen with Field F/X data.   I wish the young people good luck with that.

There's been a lot said about Justin Upton after GM Kevin Towers said he would listen to trade offers for the Diamondback. I read an article by Rob Neyer that essentially put forth the case that there have been many outfielders with Upton's numbers at that age that don't go on to be superstars, and those that are so good at a young age tend to not improve significantly because they are already maxed out on talent. What is your take on that?

If they're giving away Justin Upton, sign me up.

I would have to study Rob's points and research the issue before I would comment on that. Certainly there have been young outfielders who were dominant at a very early age (Cesar Cedeno , Al Kaline , Ted Williams ) who did not improve offensively after that. Upton has not been a dominant offensive player. He was very good one year; the rest of his career, not so good. A 23-year-old hitter 422 games into his major league career... my intuition would be that he would probably improve more often than he would fail to improve. I would guess that if you had 20 Justin Uptons, 15 of them would have better years ahead. But that's a guess.

One thing I noticed while perusing the predicted statlines in your Handbook is the optimism surrounding youngsters like Jesus Montero, Domonic Brown, Pedro Alvarez, etc... I've heard around the internet that the Handbook tends to be too optimistic when it comes to projecting young players with little to none MLB experience. Do you think these concerns are well founded or off base?

If someone has studied the data and can demonstrate that our projections are over-optimistic, of course we'd look at it. If someone speculates that this is true, I'm not really too interested.

Intuitively, I doubt that that is true. Our projection for Jason Heyward last year was extremely accurate -- a few points high on batting average, but an extremely good projection. For Buster Posey, we projected .270 with 11 homers, 54 RBI. He actually hit .305 with 18 homers, 67 RBI. We had projected Jose Tabata at .273. He hit .299. We had projected Tyler Colvin for 4 homers, 17 RBI; he had 20 homers and drove in 56. We had projected Michael Stanton for .228 with 9 homers, 22 RBI; he hit .259 with 22 homers and 59 RBI. 
 
As part of the process of producing the Handbook, we look at every projection that we made the previous year, and compare it to what the player actually did. I study those charts every year, looking for any systematic problems. I would be surprised if anyone else actually looks at them as closely as I do after the fact, comparing what the hitters actually did to what we had projected for them, and I would be surprised if we were systematically optimistic on young hitters. 
 
Other than playing time.

We do systematically use high-end projections on playing time for young players, but that's a choice, and I think it is the only reasonable choice, honestly. If a player MIGHT bat 300 times, we project that he will bat 300 times; if he might bat 500 times, we project that he will bat 500 times. For this reason: that what the reader wants to know is, if this player plays, what kind of player will he be?

We don't have any way of knowing, in October, 2010, how much playing time Domonic Brown will get in 2011. Nobody does, and everybody with any sense knows that. Therefore, trying to guess how much playing time he WILL get is a fool's errand. The question that you SHOULD ask yourself is, "If he does get playing time, how will he play?" If he doesn't get playing time, there's nothing we can do about it.

There's quite a powerful dynamic formed in the Mets with Sandy Alderson as GM and Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi coming in. What do you think of the Mets front office now? Do you think they'll make a positive and major difference, or was Omar Minaya underrated and/or unlucky?

Those are some really competent people there. Part of the problem is that it is surprisingly difficult to use a small-market strategy in a large market.  The gambles that you might take when you don't have options don't look so attractive when you have the money to pursue better options. You'd be surprised how difficult it is to get around that.

Greinke Dayton Moore calls you up and says he's going to do exactly what you recommend for Zack Greinke. So what do you do? Would it be fair to say Moore should go after top-end minor leaguers who are close to hitting the bigs to align with their own youngsters or should it be best player available?

Well, you can't keep pushing the future away. At some point you have to embrace it and push the start button. The idea that you can get a team of players who are all the same age or about the same age is a chimera, for the most part, and anyway if you do, that's Cleveland in 2007. So if it's me, I don't trade Zack Greinke unless I can get two Zack Greinke's in return.

Scouting vs statistics still inspires a lot of partisanship. Do you think one day both sides can ever co-exist peacefully?

In my experience, we have co-existed peacefully for years. I think that's more of a media debate than a professionals debate. None of us whose butts are on the line are under the impression that we have the whole thing figured out and everybody who doesn't agree with us is just wrong. In my experience, we're all trying to pick up as much as we can from the other guys.

What I don't understand are those that rely wholly on win-loss and ERA and denigrate "advanced" stats. Technically, W-L and ERA are stats too, except they're much older so people are simply used to them. Why is it so difficult for better metrics to be accepted by these people? Natural resistance to change can't be the only answer, can it?

People aren't resisting change; they're advocating a world view. Republicans are not resisting change when they oppose Democratic ideas, they're advocating their own world view, and the same for Democrats; they're not resisting Republicans. Buddhists are not resisting Christianity. 

I probably see the world backward, but... I've always been surprised at how many people will accept new ideas, how many people will consider what you have to say, and how many people will adapt to a new idea. I have always been astonished by how rapidly our way of seeing the world has penetrated the larger baseball universe. I certainly never expected these ideas to have the audience or the acceptance that they have received.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.




Posted on: November 22, 2010 3:10 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 5:06 pm
 

Hot Stove League profile: Zack Greinke

Hot Stove League Through Nov. 26, CBS Sports' MLB Facts and Rumors will be profiling both free agents and trade candidates who will help stoke the fires of the Hot Stove League. Today: trade candidate .

The Royals are entertaining the thought of trading ace pitcher Zack Greinke, who won the 2009 AL Cy Young award with a sterling 2.16 ERA in 229 1/3 innings, punching out a staggering 242 batters and walking 51, allowing just 11 home runs.

Greinke may have served as a trailblazer of sorts for Felix Hernandez to win the Cy for this past season with a 13-12 record thanks to Greinke's own 16-8 mark -- while more impressive than Hernandez', even that mark sparked debate among voters.

However, Greinke is disillusioned about the constant losing in Kansas City. Despite a ton of young prospects who could be ready to make a major impact and push the team toward contention in 2013, Greinke's own deal only runs through 2012 and all indications are that he has had enough of the losing and may look to depart the team as a free agent. In fact, some have gone as far to say that Greinke was disillusioned and disinterested at times during this past season, a part of why he finished with a 4.17 ERA in 33 starts, with a tumble in his strikeout rate.

While Greinke is unlikely to go to New York or Boston or any other rabid big-market team due to his own personal preferences and to help manage his social anxiety disorder, he should be in plenty of demand as a free agent and will be able to cash in. That's made the Royals evaluate whether or not to move Greinke. Moving him now would give the acquiring team two years of his services, which in turn would make the acquiring team far more comfortable in giving up copious amounts of talent like Kansas City would demand.

STATS

2010: 10-14, 33 GS, 220 IP, 4.17 ERA, 3.76 xFIP, 55 BB, 181 K

Career: 60-67, 210 G, 169 GS, 1,108 IP, 3.82 ERA, 3.91 xFIP, 280 BB, 931 K

WHAT IT WILL TAKE

Dayton Moore wants high-quality (obviously) players for Greinke and seeks a pitcher with similar upside to Greinke. Greinke is going to command a two- to three-player package, and Moore is going to look for the kind of return that the Braves coughed up to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira.

Greinke That return was shortstop Elvis Andrus, who finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2009 and then made the All-Star team in 2010 along with Nefali Feliz, who notched 40 saves in his first season as closer. The club also surrendered Matt Harrison, who has been valuable as a depth starter, but whose future is in the back of a NL rotation. Jarrod Salatalamacchia -- the headliner of the trade -- was later sent to the Red Sox from Texas and has a chance to start for Boston in 2011. Lastly, Beau Jones, a prospect, was in the deal. Jones, 24, completed a bullpen campaign at Double-A and still has a chance to emerge as a middle reliever.

Bottom line: that trade worked out wonderfully for Texas, and it also scared many teams off meeting that type of asking price down the road. It's unlikely Moore can get as good a package that Texas got, but K.C. will still get strong offers.

WHERE HE COULD GO

While it would be difficult for the Rays to justify going after Greinke only to have to extend him in two seasons, the Rays' deep farm system does stack up. There's near-zero chance Tampa would cough up top prospect Jeremy Hellickson, especially with the risk of Greinke departing as a free agent.

But second-best prospect Matt Moore would cause the Rays to salivate. But who to pair him with? Tampa can't deal outfielder Desmond Jennings and would likely blanch at the inclusion of a second pitcher like Jake McGee unless the player was farther off (of which they do have). The final piece could include a catcher in Drew Vettleson, as it's unlikely Wil Myers sticks behind the dish.

Other teams with high-end pitching prospects include the Red Sox, who could dangle Casey Kelly along with outfielder Ryan Kalish if Greinke agreed to give Boston a try. It would be interesting to see Toronto try to pluck Greinke with Kyle Drabek as the front piece.

The Royals may not want to deal within the division, but if the Tigers dangled Jacob Turner, it may be too much to pass up. The Rangers, who could make a big push if and when Cliff Lee signs with the Yankees, have a bevy of prospects to offer up including Martin Perez. If the Braves felt like giving the trade route another go, Julio Teheran could be dangled.

There are plenty of teams with top pitching prospects. The issue is two-fold: Will those teams sacrifice the chance of a cost-controllable ace for years for someone like Greinke? And second are the secondary pieces. Some teams with top-end pitching prospects may not have enough to measure up, or could blanch at tacking on even more.

PREDICTION

Greinke goes nowhere, but a rough start to the season and increased disillusionment from Greinke will make him a hot and heavy trade target at the trade deadline. And that's when he'll be traded.

OTHER PROFILES
Jason Bartlett | Adrian Beltre | Carl Crawford | Adam Dunn | Prince FielderCliff Lee | Victor Martinez | Dan Uggla (TRADED) | Justin Upton | Jayson Werth

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: November 13, 2010 4:15 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 4:23 pm
 

Checking up on 'The Simpsons'


You knew somebody was going to do it.

In the recent "Moneybart" episode of The Simpsons (you can watch it here ), Lisa stumbles upon a meeting of nerdy sabermetricians, who are discussing the relative merits of Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke. They agree that Lee is clearly superior, with one exception, noted by Professor Frink: "Before the fourth inning, after a road loss, in a domed stadium. Then it's great to be Greinke!"

Joe Posnanski of SI.com couldn't help himself. He had to look it up. Sabermetrics AND The Simpsons ? I think Posnanski is going for the title of King Nerd (I kid, I kid -- the last thing I need is SABR toilet papering my house again).

Going back to 2008, Posnanski found that Lee and Greinke had each pitched in a dome after a road loss on six occasions. And it turns out it is not great to be Greinke. In the 18 innings in question, Lee didn't allow an earned run. Greinke allowed 12.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 11, 2010 9:17 am
Edited on: November 11, 2010 11:07 am
 

Jays have checked in on Greinke

Zack Greinke The Blue Jays are apparently very interested in the Kansas City Royals.

The Toronto Sun 's Bob Elliott writes that the Jays have called Kansas City about Zack Greinke. Elliott adds the Jays have also talked about Royal disappointment Alex Gordon.

According to Elliott, the Royals are looking for two "can't-miss prospects" in return for Greinke to start, and it would likely take well more than just two players. Of course, Gordon was once a "can't-miss prospect" so there's that to keep in mind.

The Jays have some decent prospects, but it would have to be some of their top talked, like Kyle Drabek, Deck McGuire or Anthony Gose to really get this job done. The Jays don't quite have the surplus of prospects yet to make this deal, but it an interesting proposition.

Greinke can decline a trade to 15 teams and according to ESPN's Jayson Stark , teams that have checked in with the Royals "have come away with the impression that he wouldn't approve a deal to ANY major-market East coast team (Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets)." The Blue Jays are in a major market and in the Eastern time zone, but somehow I don't think Toronto is the kind of place Greinke, who has been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, is looking to avoid.

UPDATE: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes the Red Sox have already shown interest in Greinke, while the Rangers are expected to make a push for the 2009 Cy Young Award winner.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com