According to General Manager Doug Melvin, contract talks with Greinke and his new agent Casey Close have been “suspended.” Quoting Melvin at the Journal Sentinel:
“I talked with Casey Close and we decided to let it rest for now,” said Melvin. “That doesn’t mean we won’t talk again at some point but we’re going to let it rest right now.”
So, no, negotiations certainly aren’t over, but this isn’t a development that makes you feel good about Milwaukee’s chances, either. If Greinke is allowed to hit the open market, the Brewers could quickly find themselves priced out of contention. Many consider Greinke to be deserving of the deal Matt Cain just got from the Giants, which broke the record for largest contract given to a right-handed pitcher. A strong season could lead to Greinke getting even more than the $127.5 million guaranteed Cain received.
At the same time, it’s possible the Brewers could still be a player in the Greinke sweepstakes this winter even if he is allowed to test the free agent waters. There’s been talk in the national media — most recently by Jon Heyman — that at least a few large-market teams won’t try to sign Greinke, due to concerns over how he would handle the pressure of pitching in a big city.
One example could be the Yankees, who may be in need of a starting pitcher after this year (especially if the Michael Pineda trade ends up being a disaster in year one). However, Brian Cashman has previously been skeptical of Greinke’s ability to deal with the New York media. There’s also the matter of the Yankees trying to get under the luxury cap threshold — something they won’t be able to do without significant manuevering if they give Greinke $100 million+.
Greinke’s a smart guy. He understands there’s risks to going somewhere else through free agency. And if the reports of him liking Milwaukee are true, perhaps he decides to go back where he’s comfortable after making a few visits elsewhere. That’s no guarantee, though, and Greinke is one of the hardest players in the game to read. Anyone who tries to predict what he’s going to do is probably going to be wrong.
Greinke hasn’t explicitly said no negotiating during the season, so the two sides still basically have an entire season to work something out. Still, it’s hard to avoid feeling like the success rate for extension talks that get “suspended” isn’t very high. There’s always the hope something unexpectedly gets done, but the likelihood of an extension certainly seems less than it did a day ago.