Rosenthal pointed out three common characteristics among the group: 1) all throw change-ups, 2) all field their position well, and 3) all command their fastball. Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore told Rosenthal that pitchers that who fall behind in the count don’t fit the team’s style, presumably because pitchers that can’t command the strike zone saps the energy of defenders in the field.
This little tid-bit of information reveals quite a bit about the thinking inside the KC Royals front office. First, owner David Glass must be more committed to supporting a winner on the field than many observers are willing to believe. To even entertain the idea of signing Greinke meant that Glass had to be willing to consider making an investment more than $100 million.
That’s well beyond what most consider the club’s sending limit, given that that largest contract in Kansas Ctiy Royals history before this winter was Gil Meche‘s $55 million deal signed before the 2007 season.
However, I suspect if the KC Royals did manage to ink such a mega deal to bring back Greinke they couldn’t have signed Alex Gordon.
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The other interesting fact is how the front office sees starting pitching characteristics interacting with defensive performance. Certainly, it’s old school conventional wisdom about defenders. But, sorting potential free-agent pitchers by how they impact the defense tells me Moore sees the KC Royals defensive prowess as a critical component of their winning formula.
I must confess, I never would have classed Greinke in the same category as Chen, Kennedy, and Leake. To me, Greinke is a clear ace. Chen, Kennedy, and Leake are mid-rotation innings eaters.
That Moore sorts potential free-agents in such a way tells you he’s less caught up in adding certain amount of talent as he is in capturing value on the free agent market. Thus, an ace like Greinke and mid-rotation arms like Kennedy, Chen, and Leake all promise to provide more production relative to their market price due to their “fit” with the club.
That’s the difference between thinking like a fan and a general manager.
The Kansas City Royals considering a Zack Greinke deal also suggests me that they are serious about retaining the most critical players from the massive group of Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Edinson Volquez, and Wade Davis that all become free agents at the end of 2017.