Trade Winds Begin To Swirl Around Greinke | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Milwaukee avoided a series sweep in Cincinnati on Wednesday afternoon, taking advantage of a pair of home runs from Rickie Weeks and Cody Ransom en route to an 8-4 victory. With a record of 34-41, the Brewers climbed back to within 7.5 games of the first-place Reds.

The biggest storyline of the game, however, did not surround the outcome. Instead, it focused upon Zack Greinke and his potential trade market this summer. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees both had scouts present at the game to evaluate Greinke; whether or not the organizations were doing anything more than their due diligence, though, remains unclear at this point.

What’s clear is that organizations across the league expect Greinke to become available prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline. Milwaukee would much prefer to re-sign the right-hander and secure the top-end of the rotation for the foreseeable future, but the likelihood of agreeing to a contract with the former Cy Young winner appears to be dwindling as the months get warmer. In that case, it would behoove Doug Melvin and the organization to gauge the market and evaluate the available options.

According to Doug Melvin, though, the Brewers have not reached the selling point … yet.

Melvin, however, said the Brewers still “haven’t really made a fundamental decision” on whether to trade Greinke or any other player.

“I haven’t sat down with ownership,” Melvin said. “I haven’t talked to any club yet to say, ‘Give names.’ I haven’t had that conversation. We’ve got to make a decision on what we’re doing overall. We’re hoping we can put a good week together. If we don’t, we’ve got to be prepared to go both ways. A lot more clubs are starting to call now. Clubs are calling on different players.”

Again, more and more teams are obviously understanding the position of the Brewers. The postseason chances currently sit at 10.2%, according to Baseball Prospectus. Without improved performance, the organization may have no other choice than to open up shop and see what contending teams have to offer.

The Brewers have a legitimate chance to bolster what has become one of the worst farm systems in all of baseball. The overall depth of the system has drastically improved since Melvin shipped a parade of prospects to Kansas City and Toronto in return for a Greinke, Marcum, and a trip to the NLCS — but the system lacks premium talent. It lacks a franchise prospect. It lacks a cornerstone.

If the season continues its current direction, perhaps that cornerstone prospect can be acquired in the 2013 Draft, but the trade market serves as a safer avenue for that type of prospect. A player acquired via trade has already established a track record in professional baseball. Much of the uncertainty tied to recently-drafted prospects lies in the transition from amateur baseball to the professional ranks. Since a team cannot trade for a player until at least a year after their draft date, much of that uncertainty is gone.

Now, that’s not to suggest prospects garnered in a trade are sure things. We all know that to be unequivocally false. When attempting to scout skills and attempt to translate those skills to the major league level, however, it is much easier to do with a player who possesses a track record in professional baseball.

Small markets such as Milwaukee are built on the backs of cost-controlled, star talent. The organization snapped a 26-year postseason drought by drafting a slew of top-end talent — Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, etc. Even the trades for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum were predicated upon top-end talent in the minor league system. The currency to acquire those arms was not money, but prospects.

If the Brewers are not in contention prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline, expect to hear many more rumors about Zack Greinke. That is not to say the organization moves the right-hander. Mark Attanasio is not only running a sports team, but he is also running a successful business. He needs to balance a long-term vision of winning with a public image that will continue to generate high ticket and merchandise sales. Maintaining that public image may necessitate keeping Greinke in Milwaukee. Heck, it may necessitate not selling as a whole.

Baseball is a business, whether we want it to be, or not. The best baseball situation for this Brewers team — if things do not improve in the next couple of weeks — may be to sell players such as Greinke, Marcum, George Kottaras, and Francisco Rodriguez. The organization needs top-end talent in its minor league system, and this summer projects to be a perfect opportunity to acquire that talent.

Still, considering Mark Attanasio has strived to maintain a competitive culture in Milwaukee, I’m not completely convinced the Brewers’ owner will sign off on selling a big name such as Zack Greinke. Or, if they decide to make him available, the asking price will be so high that potential trade partners backpedal from the discussions.

Don’t expect that to quell the Greinke rumors that will continue to surface over the next month, though. Greinke makes his next start against the Miami Marlins. I’m already looking forward to the slew of rumors regarding which major league team had scouts present to reportedly watch the right-hander.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Paul says: June 28, 2012

    The Greinke situation really bothers me. I am wholeheartedly in agreement that if they can’t sign him, they should trade him. Unfortunately, I can’t really see a way that the Brewers can contend in the next couple of years without signing him. With the likely rotation behind Gallardo, it looks like 2009 all over again to me.

  2. Mathdude says: June 28, 2012

    I hope M.A. places the bar so high teams shy away from Greinke. It’s only then we’ll get the deal we need. Somebody’s gonna want to win RIGHT NOW, and that’s our best chance. Rewatch the White Sox game if you’re not sure.

    I’m talking like–

    Angels: Segura & Cron or take a hike
    Orioles: Bundy & Machado or take a hike
    Rangers: Profar & Olt or take a hike
    Rays: Lee & Torres or take a hike
    Braves: Teheran & Delgado or take a hike
    D-backs: Davidson & Bauer or take a hike

    And if they all run away, so be it. We’ll take our chances. M.A. has done so much for this organization, i have to trust him with this one.

    • Tyler says: June 29, 2012

      The teams asking for Greinke would be the one’s telling the Brewers to
      “take a hike” dude… Profar & Olt. Bundy & Machado. Hillarious. Haha.

    • ecp says: June 29, 2012

      Well, you’re not going to get any of those deals. And Greinke isn’t going to stay. So that means we’ll get…nothing at all.

      • lovesthegame says: June 29, 2012

        The Brewers will still get compensation if they make Greinke a qualifying offer, which they will if they keep him. And he will turn it down. If Greinke is traded the new team will not be able to get compensation by making a qualifying offer, which will affect some of Greinke’s trade value.

    • lovesthegame says: June 29, 2012

      Because the new CBA will not allow teams to get compensation for players they acquire that year, I am not sure you’re going to get 2 top 5 prospects for Greinke But they should still be able to get one of a teams #1-3 plus several other B prospects/young major leaguers.

      In my opinion, Melvin ought favor a deal around a young SS. I’m not sure Profar could be had, but a deal with a good prospect and say Andrus, or Machado and a low level high ceiling pitcher. Those are the kind of deals that would be well worth it as it fills not only a need for this season, but a long term one.

      But I don’t think a single one of those teams would take your offer. Last year maybe. But not with the new CBA.

  3. Kyle Rohde says: June 28, 2012

    Yep, Attanasio and Melvin are in a tough spot. It would be fantastic to have Greinke around but…I’m imagining $80M is about right for the Brewers in total salaries going forward. Can they really afford to have 1/2 the payroll locked up with Braun/Greinke, which is where they’d be if they managed to resign Greinke? And then you add in Weeks/Hart/Gallardo and you’re over 3/4 of your payroll with two pitchers and three position players. Is that really the recipe for a winner? I’d like to see Greinke traded for a position player prospect and a pitching prospect.

    • Bob says: June 28, 2012

      I think 80 million is a tad on the low side, especially if they are a winning team. That would be the bottom 1/3 of MLB. Unless the current crop of prospects outperform expectations, the Brewer’s aren’t going to be able to shed payroll (Braun, Weeks, Hart, Ramirez, Gallardo) without trades AND becoming a bad team.

  4. Darth Zilcho says: June 28, 2012

    It’s nice to say that a trade is the way to get a cornerstone prospect but when was the last time a half season rental returned a cornerstone prospect? The best recent deal I can think of is Cliff Lee bringing back Justin Smoak but, as was mentioned in a recent article, lefties are more highly sought after than righties. Plus I don’t think Smoak was a cornerstone prospect. He was certainty well regarded but had been injured and hadn’t really shown any power in the minors. The Brewers best hope is to do to a team what the Indians did to them; leverage their desperation to end a playoff drought into a nice package of players. Even that only returned Laporta as the best prospect and once again I don’t think he was viewed as a cornerstone prospect. Personally I think it would be a win for the Brewers to get someone on the level of Mike Olt. A good top 50 prospect but not a top 20.

    • Kyle Rohde says: June 28, 2012

      Ehh, the Brewers gave away a cornerstone prospect for Marcum. Not a rental, but not a pitcher anywhere near Greinke’s level either. So maybe it’s possible!

      • Jozef K says: June 28, 2012

        The original point stands, then… right? Can anyone here name a prospect acquired via half season rental trading that proved to be an above-average everyday starter? Smoak? That’s what we have here so far?

        Is trading Greinke for two ‘potentially’ good-but-probably-not-really players worth losing a franchise player? Granted, they might not be able to sign him, but I’d rather try to resign him and then take draft pick compensations unless some team blows Melvin out of the water with an amazing deal.

        • Bdpecore says: June 29, 2012

          How about Carlos Beltran for Zachary Wheeler? Wheeler was as close to untouchable as they came. The Giants were willing to trade Matt Cain for Hart a few years back but not Wheeler.

      • ike says: June 29, 2012

        brewers traded a player that fell out of favour with the organization. one that they did not think was ready to make the jump but oozed potential for a player that had two years of control with some cost certainty that although is not an ‘ace’ he is definitely #2/3 starter. Marcum is no slouch, we are not talking Greinke but we also aren’t talking randy wells. the trade was pretty fair on both sides of the fence. If I am correct, marcum has had more value to the brewers then lawrie for the jays. if compared based on WAR and what not, brewers won the trade fyi…

    • Nicholas Zettel says: June 28, 2012

      Remember that the Brewers were trading a disgruntled prospect when they worked Lawrie / Marcum. That may not have been THE reason Lawrie was traded, but one can legitimately question his place in the Brewers’ organization.

      Also remember that Marcum had a notably better 2010 campaign than Greinke, and the Brewers traded for 2 years of contract control (plus the potential reserve rights for compensatory picks, whatever that’s worth).

      That’s a whole lot different than a half season of Greinke — even if Greinke is having a great season.

      • ike says: June 29, 2012

        nicely said.

  5. NickB says: June 29, 2012

    Remember Brewers fans, with the new CBA the receiving team will not get draft compensation if Greinke decides to not sign an extension, this will cut the asking price down a lot. I wouldn’t expect to get much more for him than the Mets got for Beltran last year, one good piece, maybe an add on, but doubtfully the buying team’s best prospect.

  6. HobokenMetsFan says: June 29, 2012

    I saw this blog listed on the MLBTR website, and I just wanted to say that I LOVE the name. Uecker is the man.


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