Greinke Tried to Talk Yankees into Trading For Him

zack greinkeVia Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated:

Though he knew he wanted out of Kansas City, which has a promising future but looks like it will have a brutal present, [Zack Greinke] wasn’t sure where he wanted to be. He told friends he didn’t think he could play in Boston or New York. But when he and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met clandestinely in Orlando (Greinke’s hometown) at an off-site location during the winter meetings, Greinke’s desperation not to endure yet another losing season in Kansas City was such that he is said to have tried to convince Cashman that he wanted to come to New York. And that he could actually thrive in New York.

However, people who were briefed on that meeting said Cashman ultimately decided that Greinke’s first thought about New York was probably correct — that it wasn’t the best spot for him. Greinke told people the day he accepted his Cy Young Award in New York City that he didn’t think he could ever live in New York, and kept telling friends the same. But as the days dwindled this winter, he made his surprise plea to Cashman to make him a Yankee.

The Yankees, on paper, seemed like a fit. They had Greinke’s less talented brother in their farm system and they were desperate for great pitching. But members of the organization are all believed to have sided with Cashman in a winter where he was occasionally overturned (most notably on Rafael Soriano).

It just speaks to how strongly the Yankees believe that the Bronx is the wrong place for Greinke that he lobbied them to make a deal for him and they didn’t really make any push at all for him despite a strong need for starters. Greinke is a good pitcher too, but when a guy publicly says that he wouldn’t feel comfortable in a place, the tendency is to believe him. Only when he felt more uncomfortable in Kansas City did he turn to the Yankees.

Part of me wonders what role his brother Luke Greinke played in this situation. Luke was a Yankee draft pick back in 2008 and while pitching for the Staten Island Yankees, he told me that he wasn’t a big city guy and felt uncomfortable not only pitching in New York City, but didn’t even like being here. It’s possible that the Yankees saw how Luke reacted and worried that Zack might feel the same way.

The Brewers look to have a good team this season, but Greinke won’t be a free agent until after the 2012 season. If the Brewers are not contending next season after they lose some of their offensive punch in Prince Fielder (a free agent after this season), it is possible that Greinke could be back on the trade market before he hits free agency in two years.

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8 Responses to Greinke Tried to Talk Yankees into Trading For Him

  1. geo says:

    Heyman didn't do his research very well here. The Yanks released Luke Greinke two years ago, after he blew out his shoulder, so his presence (or lack thereof) in their system would have had zero bearing on the situation in late 2010.

    • Heyman's use of the word "had" instead of "have" makes me think that he's fully aware that Luke is no longer in the system.

      Unless you are talking about my comments, then again, I am fully aware that Luke is no longer in the system.

      • af says:

        Actually, if Heyman were both aware of Luke's departure and literate he would have written "They had had Greinke’s less talented brother in their farm system…"

        Not sure about either.

  2. Susan says:

    " However, people who were briefed on that meeting said Cashman ultimately decided that Greinke’s first thought about New York was probably correct — that it wasn’t the best spot for him "

    And I would argue that New York probably isn't the best spot for Cashman.

  3. Bronx Knight says:

    The quote from Jon Heyman makes it seem as if the Yankees were concerned that Greinke wasn't going to like living in New York. That's not the problem. He could get a small farm in Dutchess County and live the country life if he wanted. The much more serious problem is that Greinke has a bona-fide, diagnosed social anxiety disorder, which causes him trouble even in tiny Kansas City. Being a Yankee in the New York media market has chewed up and destroyed guys a lot less shy than Greinke.

  4. Bronx Knight says:

    Having said that, given our dire need for starting pitching, I had suggested that we could hire a full-time minder for Greinke, to help him deal with the media and any social issues he might have (some kind of trained psychologist, for instance). The analogy is to the interpreters we've hired for non-English-speaking stars like Matsui.

    But, given Greinke's issues, I can certainly understand Cashman's refusal to deal for him.

    • David K. says:

      Not even Sigmund Freud would be able to make a dent in his problem. These psychological issues never go away, certainly not under the biggest microscope in the world that is NY. Greinke should stay in the smallest market, if he doesn't want to implode.