Return of Greinke Day


Tuesday night the Royals return home to the K but that’s overshadowed by the return of Zack Greinke who was traded on December 19, 2010. Kansas City got Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi in return for dealing Greinke plus Yuniesky Betancourtto Milwaukee. Zack felt that KC wasn’t in position to compete, the team wanted players they felt move the process along.

At this point many probably feel the Brewers got the better of the deal since they made the postseason with Zack and were two wins from the World Series last fall. Another reason Royals fans feel like the trade didn’t work out is because Betancourt was brought back this past offseason. It also doesn’t help that since the trade Greinke’s 23-8 during the last two seasons. During those two seasons Kansas City could’ve used a number one starter.

Saying his time in the city of fountains was up and down is an understatement because he only had two seasons with a winning record, one .500 season, lost 17-games in 2005 and dealt with a social anxiety disorder during his time in KC. As for the bright spots he did strikeout 15 Indians on August 25, 2009 which broke the team’s strikeout in a game record, previously held by Mark Gubicza.

His crowning achievement was winning the 2009 Cy Young award with a 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA for a team way removed from the postseason. That season he represented the Royals in the All-Star Game in St. Louis striking out two of the three hitters faced.

How will the crowd react Tuesday night? I expect it to be a mixture of cheers and boos when he takes the mound likely in a navy blue Brewers jersey. Royals fans never got to say goodbye and with Zack being a free agent this winter I think some people are holding out hope he returns since he and his wife still own a home in Kansas City.

When I heard that he was scheduled to pitch during this brief homestand there was no doubt that I’d drive down from Omaha to see the “return” of the former hero. I was there for the wins and losses in addition to the night where he toyed with Cleveland, I won’t boo but it will be bittersweet seeing him in another uniform.

Maybe if he’d stayed KC they’d be further in the “process” than they are now but there would also be no Alcides at short or No Odorizzi, no Cain (who could still contribute if he can stay healthy), no Jeffress (who might get back to KC at some point). In addition who knows if Greinke becomes the guy he is right now, the one who is nearly unbeatable at Miller Park and 7-2 this season. It’s possible that if he remains might of continued had he not got the change of scenery due to the struggles of 2010.

So if you’re at the K on Tuesday, it’s understandable if you root for the Royals while remembering the good times we had with number 23 throwing for Kansas City. However once Zack throws his first pitch to Alex Gordon your emotions might change a bit.