The season isn’t over for the Yankees, but the trade buzz is already starting around the league. The biggest name that has been making the rounds is Royals pitcher Zack Greinke and considering the Yankees depth on the mound, it is reasonable to expect that fans might want them to attempt a trade.
Those fans should probably not get their hopes up.
News came out yesterday via Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports about Greinke’s no trade clause and let’s just say that it’s not favorable to the Yankees.
In 2010, Greinke was allowed to block trades to 20 teams. Of course the Yankees were on that list. Next season that number drops, but he’s still allowed to block trades to 15 teams and you’d better believe the Yankees will once again be on that list.
Now no trade clauses don’t mean the player can change his mind, but in Greinke’s situation it’s hard to believe this is about leverage.
Greinke has always been a highly touted pitcher, but in 2006 briefly left baseball with a social anxiety disorder. A player with social a social anxiety disorder does not seem to mix with a big media center like New York. His putting the Yankees on his NTC would go along with that thinking.
Further in 2008, his brother Luke Greinke was drafted by the Yankees and reported to the Staten Island Yankees. There as a beat writer I had a chance to interview him multiple times and he expressed a great distaste for New York and never seemed at ease all season. In fact, his season ended early with an injury and he never came back to baseball at all.
I realize that just because his brother is one way doesn’t necessarily mean anything for Zack. But it is certainly possible, especially considering his past issues with social anxiety disorder, that he is also a small town type of guy. After all, he does play in Kansas City.
The catch is that the Yankees actually do matchup well with the Royals. Greinke is under contract through 2012 and will be paid $26 million in total over the next two years. He has a NTC that blocks deals to 15 teams, but that only lasts through 2011. So about a year from now the Yankees could deal for him and he can do nothing about it.
So there is a decent amount of salary involved here that will keep some teams, like the Rays for instance, from being interested. They will also look for a decent amount of prospects and major league ready type players. At that time the Yankees will be flush with those type of players in guys like Austin Romine, David Adams, Corban Joseph, even Francisco Cervelli may fit this bill.
So essentially the Yankees probably cannot acquire Greinke in 2011 no matter what. He can block any deal and he probably doesn’t want to be here no matter what. In 2012, the Yankees could deal for him technically as his NTC goes away, but they should probably stay away from him even then.
By that time he could be off the trade market anyways if another team aggressively bids for him. If the Royals are smart though, they’ll make it interesting by waiting for his NTC to disappear in 2012 which would drive up the amount of bidders and thus their potential asking price.