Talks with Zack Greinke break down, indefinitely “suspended” | Disciples of Uecker

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While many fans have seemed to be optimistic when it came to re-signing Zack Greinke, the Brewers’ ability to keep the right-hander appears to have taken a hit Tuesday.

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.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Nathan Petrashek says: April 11, 2012

    I’m not reading much into this. Melvin notoriously plays close to the vest, and I suspect he got Close to agree not to negotiate through the media. Announcing that talks have been tabled is obviously the easiest way to prevent all those probing questions about when a deal is going to get done and its potential parameters. Melvin has been very public in his desire to have Greinke signed to an extension, and I’m sure he is doing everything he can behind closed doors to make that happen.

  2. N says: April 11, 2012

    I agree. Good analysis.

  3. kidsmoke96 says: April 11, 2012

    The problem with that is Melvin doesn’t lie/mislead the media or the public. He’s very honest in his interviews. If something was up, he’d say “We don’t comment on negotiations.” He’s already told us that MKE is letting Marcum walk. So for him to suspend talks implies that an agreement is far off.

    What I don’t quite understand is why DM felt the need to “announce” this. Maybe he was tiring of the daily questions?

    • hoober27 says: April 11, 2012

      If Melvin honestly thought he had a good chance of resigning a pitcher the quality of Greinke, I don’t think he would mind being asked about it repeatedly by the media. Regardless of whether he’s trying to keep the ongoing negotiations secret or the talks actually have been tabled, this is him getting the reporters off Greinke’s back without Greinkie needing to come off as the guy deciding he doesn’t want to talk/come back/etc… Considering Grienke’s issues with anxiety, I think it’s a pretty good play by Melvin.

      Would love to see him sign our dotted line, but not all that optimistic.


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