Winter Meetings Day 2: Zack Greinke is Still a Royal

Day 2 of the winter meetings closed with a lot of smoke, but no fire yet in the hot stove.  Much of the day’s reporting went towards various Zack Greinke rumors as a few new teams jumped in as interested trade partners.  One of the potential right-handed hitting outfielders on the market signed elsewhere, making the run towards Jeff Francoeur more inevitable.

On top of that, Ned Yost was out and about and discussed a few things about 2011.

Here are today’s notes:

  • Zack Greinke: Despite some GMs saying the Royals would have to come down on their asking price of two impact prospects near the majors and more, Ed Price of Fanhouse.com tweeted that teams were “upping offers” for Greinke.  As the world waits for Cliff Lee to sign somewhere, the Royals and Greinke are waiting to see what comes their way.  Through most of the offseason, Texas and New York have been the primary interested parties, but the Blue Jays have stepped up and could be the frontrunner if they’re willing to trade Kyle Drabek.  On top of those three, the Nationals jumped into the Greinke market about the same time rumors swirled that they were going to make a “HUGE” offer to Lee.  It was later reported that they were out, however the Dodgers have emerged as another possible team of interest, along with the Reds (though both teams are overflowing with major league starters – though none that are likely to be involved in any deal).  It seems like talks are building, though, and every day it seems more likely that Greinke will be on the move, especially if teams are recognizing the shrinking pitching market and looking to get the last remaining ace after Lee.  Even the Twins are involved on the outside part of talks.
  • Matt Diaz agreed to a deal with the Pirates for two years, eliminating a right-handed outfield option.  Dayton Moore has others to look through, but with the news that the Phillies have put Jeff Francoeur on the backburner, despite Charlie Manuel’s desire to work with him.  Francoeur has been linked in discussions with the Royals, Phillies and Rockies.  The Royals have been expected to sign him since about 1929, it seems.  There hasn’t been much on Francoeur in relation to the Royals other than yesterday’s mention that the Phillies and Royals were both picking up the pace, so it’s possible the Royals are still exploring other options.
  • One such option could (and should) be Josh Willingham.  I made a case for the Royals trading for Willingham Tuesday afternoon and I think he’d be a great fit for about the same cost as Francoeur.  The problem?  Apparently the Nationals have “absurd” demands for him.
  • I missed this note yesterday.  A few teams thought that Brian Bannister, recently released by the Royals, was choosing retirement as his next action.  Banny’s still out there trying to make a team, though.
  • Another item I missed yesterday: Mike Moustakas won the Joe Bauman Award, which is given out to the homerun champion of the minor leagues.  Moose hit 36 homers between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha and edged out Mark Trumbo of the Angels.  Both hit 36 homers but Moustakas had two more RBI on the season.
  • Moustakas should log some time at third base in Kansas City, though to open the season, Ned Yost will likely turn to Mike Aviles instead of Wilson Betemit.  Yost cites Aviles’s late season surge and Betemit’s “heavy legs” at season’s end as reasons to make a switch.
  • The roster on Friday could look vastly different from the roster today.  No matter who suits up, though, Yost believes 2011 will be a “pivotal year” for the Royals organization.  Many prospects could make their major league debuts in the coming season.  Relievers like Blaine Hardy, Tim Collins and Louis Coleman could make the team out of spring training.  Danny Duffy and Everett Teaford could make it up later and are due a long look in spring training.  Looking down the line to the big names like Moustakas (who should be up around June 2011)  and Eric Hosmer coming up, Yost told Bob Dutton “you’ve got a group that can win a World Series“.

By this time tomorrow, we may be looking at the haul of prospects the Royals received for Greinke, or speculating on what number Francoeur will wear in right field.  Or there might be other surprises.  Then again, there may be more discussion and no action.  The rumors come fast and furious, so keep your eyes peeled.  We’ll look at Day 3 tomorrow night.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Jeff Francoeur Josh Willingham Kansas City Royals KC Mike Aviles Mike Moustakas MLB Ned Yost Royals Wilson Betemit Zack Greinke

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