May 4, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (13) delivers a pitch during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT

Is Atlanta a Good fit for Zack Greinke?

Zack Greinke has found his way into another period of endless headlines and trade rumors just like that time not so long ago in Kansas City. He probably hates it but hey, when you are one of the few legitimate aces in baseball and you are playing for a team that is on the edge of collapse your name is probably going to be thrown around.

MLB Trade Rumors has had nonstop Greinke coverage the past couple days and there is no question that he is going to be traded. Apparently the Brewers have no chance to resign their stud pitcher, and they aren’t about to just let him enter free agency while they get nothing for him.

A trade is going to come and it’s going to be another big one, filled with all kinds of super prospects, some guys that can play for the team now, and a couple other pieces thrown in because… of these numbers.

Normally when these kinds of players are shopped around the Braves don’t really bother calling in. However, Atlanta could be in the best position of any team in baseball to spin the pieces and land Zack Greinke, not just for the remainder of 2012 but as well as extending his contract.

When talking about Zack Greinke the most important thing to remember is that he has battled social anxiety and he would probably want to stay away from bir market cities like LA and New York. There are just some teams he’s probably not going to ever even consider going to regardless of how much money he’s being offered. He even said this:

“Baseball, in my opinion, would be a lot better if you could just make the same salary as everybody else in the world and you don’t deal with any of the other stuff,”

Atlanta is a mid-market team that is usually in playoff contention, two things that would probably make Greinke at least a bit curious. But just because Atlanta doesn’t have the New York/Boston/LA paparazzi doesn’t mean Zack Greinke would just come and play for nothing. He’s still going to want to be paid what he’s worth, and he’ll be able to find a club that can have all three of these things.

That’s the next bit of good news if you are one of the people out there who would love to see Greinke in an Atlanta uniform. It looks like we actually do have the money to make a competitive offer to Zack Greinke after his contract expires this season.

Will Hickman (@willhickmanjr) was kind enough to share his Braves Payroll Projection with me, and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing that with you.

Atlanta Braves Payroll Projections

Will predicts that we will have around $40 million to spend next off season (a bit less if you don’t think EOF will be non tendered and a lot less if you think the Braves are keeping JJ). This should be enough money to re sign Michael Bourn, and sign a high profile player like Zack Greinke. This will leave little wiggle room down the road however, especially with our TV deal and if we want to keep around our talented youth.

The last thing on the list for making this trade actually work is the prospects Milwaukee would need to move arguably the best pitcher available this season and this offseason. We have the pitching prospects the Brewers would go after as well as a couple of position players that it would take to round out the deal. Players like Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Sean Gilmartin, Edward Salcedo, Tyler Pastornicky, Even Gattis, Matt Lipka, etc. are all players the Brewers might be interested in. It would likely take two high end pitching prospects, another middle end pitching prospect, and a guy like Salcedo make the deal work.

Like the long term money issues, giving up this many quality prospects is risky but possible. I do think Frank Wren would pull the trigger, if an extension could be worked out with Greinke however. It wouldn’t be another dreaded Texieria-like trade in that case.

Atlanta would be in great position to take hold of the division and make a strong run in the playoffs with a pitcher of Greinke’s quality in the middle of our rotation. We have solid infield defense, above average offense, a fantastic outfield, and still a pretty good bullpen. An ace is the only thing lacking.

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Milwaukee Brewers Zack Greinke

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