Right now is an awkward time of the offseason. The winter meetings have concluded. The Royals 40 man roster is full (and technically we’re waiting to see who gets trimmed to make room for Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera), and the Royals aren’t reportedly in on anyone else at the moment.
With Cliff Lee‘s agreement to sign with Philadelphia last night, the Zack Greinke trade market could heat up with both the Rangers and Yankees – considered the two frontrunners for Lee – left wanting. Obviously, he’s a big focus for those two teams and others, so there’s a lot out there right now about Zack and where he might fit – or won’t.
There’s already been so much made of Greinke’s social anxiety disorder and depression and why he wouldn’t fit in New York. Ed Price of Fanhouse mentioned that Greinke faces reporters on days in which he starts and Kansas City has just two beat reporters, whereas in New York he’d face up to 11 every day. So maybe that’s a lot to face, but then, this is a guy who, for a full season in 2009 pitched in front of crowds of 30-40,ooo against the best hitters in the world and dominated. Is he reserved around the media? Does he prefer to keep a low profile? Of course. Does that mean he’s going to stand on the mound in Yankee pinstripes and suddenly bolt for the door, overcome? I really doubt it. Greinke’s been a star baseball player his entire life. He’s married to a former Miss Teen Florida. I’d imagine he’s used to people watching him by now.
Does that mean he’s 100% comfortable everyday? Doubtful. Social anxiety is a serious condition that can derail anyone, if they let it get the best of them. Greinke’s been receiving treatment and medication that allows him some normalcy of daily life (as normal the life of an ace starting pitcher can be). I think a lot of the voiced concern over if Greinke can handle the New York spotlight in light of his SAD is the tendency to view someone speaking up about the condition as damaged or soft. Baseball’s a very “rub some dirt in it” environment and a personal condition like SAD doesn’t play well.
But guess who else has social anxiety – Oprah Winfrey. I’m pretty sure she can handle the spotlight. Another one: Howard Stern. I guess he caved under the chaos that is New York. And is anybody gonna tell Burt Reynolds he’s soft because of his SAD?
Greinke’s treatment allowed him to perform at an historic level in 2009 and while he fell off a bit in 2010, he’s still in control.
Now as for trade partners, there are rumblings that Matt Garza is starting to be seen as a less-talented, but more contract friendly option on the trade market. That’s great, but Matt Garza isn’t a difference maker. He’s good, sure, but he’s not likely bound for a Cy Young season. He’ll make the same amount as Greinke but in one more year, so that’s the appeal, and I can see why a team would do that, but not a team that wants to keep up with the Phillies or the Red Sox. If I’m starting a franchise today and get to choose one pitcher, I’m choosing Greinke.
Dayton Moore is asking a lot for his best player, and he should be. I’ve read something about specific requests for players who are close to major league ready who play up the middle, which reeks of Allard Baird’s demands for Carlos Beltran. Now, with first base and third base waiting on Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, that leaves the Royals without superstar prospects up the middle, so it’s not a big issue, but I’d rather Moore keep holding out for the biggest return possible.
Will it happen? We might find out this week. Or we might still be waiting. Jim Callis of Baseball America thinks it’ll be tough for teams to meet Moore’s demands, which is how it should be. Once some of the potential contenders see that Kevin Millwood and Chien Ming Wang aren’t going to do much more than fill a spot on the roster, they should start heating the hot stove back up and calling Dayton up.