Zack Greinke

For those who haven’t heard, the Royals traded Zack Greinke to Milwaukee today, along with the terrible Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million, for a package of young players.

This is ludicrous.

When teams like the Royals and Pirates and Indians talk about developing young talent, they mean to say that it’s the primary route toward winning. As in, “No, we can’t spend like the big guys. But we can draft wisely, bring our own guys up, sign them to longterm deals and become contenders.” It’s logical and wise—but almost never practiced.

Greinke is 27-years young. He was drafted by the Royals and, despite a so-so 2010, is a legitimate No. 1 starter. He is the exact type of player Kansas City is supposed to keep and build around.

But, no. Teams like the Royals develop players, allow them to have one or two good seasons, then deal them for more young players. It’s a never-ending merry-go-round, where these franchises basically nurture their stars, then send them elsewhere. Believe me, in another couple of years the players acquired from Milwaukee will be used as chips. It’s how it goes.

Meanwhile, the 54 remaining KC fans are told to be patient and wait for better days.

They will never arrive.

31 thoughts on “Zack Greinke”

  1. Yep. I’ve been hearing that since the Pirates dismantled in ’93. In Pittsburgh, it’s compounded by terrible ownership and an incompetent front office.

    Kevin Young is still going to be the next Frank Thomas…

  2. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Mike Montgomery, Wil Myers, John Lamb, Chris Dwyer, Danny Duffy… and now throw Lorenzo Cain and Jeremy Jeffress into that mix.

    Jeff, those better days you’re talking about will be coming back pretty soon.

  3. The best part of the Royals is their hat. By the way, are they from Missouri or Kansas??? It’s always amazed me that two states share a city. Kind of awesome.

  4. As a Brewer fan I have mixed feelings about the trade. They receive a good pitcher, but they give up two good young players. They traded JJ Hardy to make room for Escobar. He doesn’t hit much, but he looks like he will be a great fielder. Caine was brought up in the middle of the year. He covers a lot of ground in center fielder and I think he will be a good hitter.

  5. Greinke also came out and said he wouldn’t block a potential trade because he was tired of the rebuilding projects.

    The Royals farm system is projected as one of the best in the majors, so as Matt said above, there’s still hope.

  6. The best thing about the Royals is that stadium. Along with the food served there and the friendly people in KC it makes for a great road trip for Twins fans. They deserve better.

  7. the royals won’t be any good until Grienke’s contract is up. Might as well get something for him now than watch him sign with another team when he hits FA.

  8. Seems like an odd trade to make this kind of comment when the Brewers are the kind of small market team that developed young talent and are now seeing the fruits of that labor by developing a contender.

    The Royals dealt Greinke because they weren’t going to be good the two remaining years he had under contract. It made sense to move him to acquire more young talent for when the team is going to be good. As a rational Royals, fan, I approve of this strategy wholeheartedly.

    Still, it sucks to see my favorite player in another uniform.

  9. At least the Royals draft players like Greinke. The Pirates just draft the player they can afford. Matt Wieters anyone? They drafted a catcher Tony Sanchez two years ago who no one had on their first round board yet the Bucs always find a way to pinch. If they could only use the money the receive from revenue sharing to player development. The very least they could do is hire someone like Buck Showalter who will lit a fire under these players a$$.

    I can see them unloading McCutchen next year because of arbitration. Cheap fukkkking bastards!

  10. In the draft the Pirates took Sanchez (who looks like a very promising prospect while Wieters has struggled) the Pirates spend the second most money ever in a draft.

    The team that spent the most? Why the Royals that same year.

  11. i think the model moore may be following if any is tampa bay, and thier franchise should give all royals fans reason for optimisum. tampa was told they would never compete with the yanks and red sox yet continued to stock pile young talent and have now won 2 div titles and have gone to a world series, doing so with a terrible ball park and fan base, KC has a fntastic park, a loyal fan base and can turn this thing around quickly. Tampas fan base just wouldnt show up even when they were great and now are losing some of thier talent because of this. If the royals fans can avoid this mistake then i believe you will be able to keep this talen and sustain a long run of success. As a red sox fan i know most of the time we are lumped in with the yanks on spending and rightfuly so. however if you look at the red sox 25 man roster there is close to 10 impact home grown players and that makes me proud as a fan. you folks at KC will be very proud soon!!

  12. The problem with the last 20 years of Royals teams wasn’t an inability to keep good players, it was an inability to develop enough good players to compete. Try to list the great home-grown Royals players of the last 20 years. Carlos Beltran, Mike Sweeney (before the injuries), Johnny Damon, Zack Greinke…and? It hasn’t been enough to make a good team. If the Royals had never traded away any of those guys, they’d still not have made the playoffs.

    Realizing they weren’t good enough to win, the Royals had to trade them before free agency. Contrary to conventional wisdom, though, the root of their problem (and the Pirates also haven’t drafted well).

    To fix the problem, you have to build a farm system that is actually *good*, not just young. And the Royals, finally, have one.

  13. Greinke’s contract is up after the 2012 season, and he made it clear that he doesn’t want to be here anymore. I don’t blame him, but I also don’t blame the Royals for getting something for him while they still can. It sucks, but it’s probably best for everyone.

    The Royals are going to be terrible next year, but they have the best farm system in baseball, so there’s hope for 2012 and beyond. They’re going to need a couple of years of winning to boost revenues and a few club-friendly contracts for the young guys.

    Of course, if the young guys pan out, the big-market teams will swoop in and whisk them away with huge contracts. But that’s the terrible system the Royals are forced to operate under. If the young guys don’t pan out, well, then we’re back to square one.

  14. The Royals have a stacked farm system that won’t be up in the bigs until 2011 or 2012 and probably won’t contend until 2013 (after Greinke’s contract runs out). Greinke asked for a trade and said he didn’t want to stick around for another youth movement so they traded him while his value was still high for prospects that would come up with the rest of them. How does this not make sense to people? Can just anyone get one of these blogs, no matter how little they know?

  15. Holy Crap! Milwaukee is now a major market! Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox….Brewers?!? Wow! Does that mean that ESPN will actually have to find Milwaukee on a map in order to hype them the same way they do the NY/BOS/Philly teams?

  16. I’m sorry Jeff, but this is an utterly asinine post. You want to use this as an example of the haves and have not’s in baseball, and to an extent you’re right–the Yankees and Mets and Phillies of the world make it impossible for teams like KC and Pittsburgh to retain players like Greinke. However, this example, if ANYTHING, shows how silly it is for you to write this: ” Teams like the Royals develop players, allow them to have one or two good seasons, then deal them for more young players.” and have it supposedly reflect market-size disparity and payroll. If anything, this example shows that the reason the Royals are a joke is not because they’re small-market but because they don’t know how to run a franchise.

    The Milwaukee Brewers, five years ago, were every bit as hapless as the Royals. Thanks to some luck and some savvy marketing and transitions, they are now in the position to deal for a player like Zach Greinke, which they only did because of Dayton Moore’s apparently mental lapse in getting 4 B/B+ players rather than any high-ceiling guys.

    This move has almost nothing to do with payroll and market and everything to do with competence. What this move shows us, if it shows us anything is nothing about small market teams and everything about how teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City are not perennial last-place teams because of unfairness but because they are run very very poorly from a player personnel standpoint. Which is something that you would have already known if you’d been following baseball for the past 5 years and seen how many supposedly small market teams have been able to build from the farm up, increase payroll, and become contenders.

    Is baseball fair from a financial perspective? Absolutely not. But this is probably the worst possible example you could have chosen to illustrate it and demonstrates a serious lack of analysis or a fundamental misunderstanding of the financial structure of baseball and the populations of major United States cities (Milwaukee: 600,000, Kansas City 480,000)

  17. @ Jim:

    What do you see this post being about if not small-markets vs. large-markets in MLB. If I’ve misunderstood that aspect of the post, I guess I’ve misunderstood it, but I really don’t see what he means when he says “Teams like the Royals” in the context of talking about MLB in its current iteration if he’s not talking about market size and payroll.

    But you’re right, dude…he never once used the exact phrase “market size”

    1. Chris—I actually didn’t mean market size, though I can understand the confusion. I meant, literally, teams like the Royals—perennial screwups who talk about building, building, building, but inevitably trade their building blocks. That’s all.

  18. @Jim – “As in, ‘no, we can’t spend like the big guys…'” That’s a reference to market size.

    While the post isn’t exclusively about small market v. big market, it does explore the GM culture that dynamic creates. Unfortunately, in its attempt to do so, it ignores the fact that Milwaukee is a small market team as well. While the Brewers are small market, they have avoided the very culture that Jeff is complaining about. Further undercutting the intent is the fact that Cleveland went to the playoffs as recently as 2007 with a lot of homegrown talent. So that kinda throws both the lack of success and the whole “almost never practiced” thing out the window with regard to the Indians.

    While there definitely seems to be a problem within the front office of trading away good, young players for prospects, Mr. Pearlman seems misguided as to how many teams suffer from this flawed philosophy and why it persists.

  19. @Jeff Pearlman – I apologize. I read the article and saw the market size argument. My misinterpretation.

    I certainly understand what you mean about “perennial screwups” with regard to the Royals and the Pirates. Though, as I mentioned before, I’m not sure you can apply that moniker to the Indians. At least, not yet. I can certainly understand how one could theorize that they were heading in a “perennial screwup” direction given their transactions over the past few seasons.

  20. I see your point Jeff, but the indictment is not on the rebuilding process itself – after all, teams like the Indians, A’s, Twins, Rays and Marlins have all succeeded “rebuilding” by trading vets for youth. The indictment is on the Royals for sucking at rebuilding.

  21. Here’s the thing, for as long as baseball has been around there have been bad teams.

    The Boston Braves sucked, up until 1948, the Dodgers mostly sucked. Aside from a few good years in the teens and late 20s for the A’s, both Philadelphia teams stunk. It took a World War for the Browns to get to the World Series. The Senators blew.

    Baseball has always had a very clear tiered system. The only difference in this era is that there are a handful of teams that year-in and year-out have no shot at the postseason:

    Blue Jays

    Since the strike, these are the only teams that have not made the post season. That’s only 13% of the total teams. Why do the same people (not you Jeff) who go on and on about the greatness of the 1950s (when the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers absolutely dominated baseball) also bitch about the Royals, Pirates, etc not making the playoffs?

    This isn’t even about market size anymore. The family that owns the Royals owns Walmart and are among the richest people in the world. They can afford to throw some cash around.

  22. The family that owns Wal-Mart does not own the Royals.

    The Royals are owned by David Glass, the former CEO of Wal-Mart. He is a generally wealthy person, but among baseball owners I believe he tends to be one of the under-capitalized.

    No excuse though, Florida competes all the time with a shoestring payroll as do the Rays.

  23. Do you ever hear the term “small market” applied to the NFL, NHL or NBA? Would anyone ever refer to the Green Bay Packers as a “small market team”? Why is that?

  24. ronl-

    Is that a real question? The NFL has a salary cap. Not to mention that NFL profits are so superfluous, that the lowest valued NFL team, according to Forbes, would slot right in about 4th in MLB.

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