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.

Next Braves Game View full schedule »
Friday, Aug 2929 Aug7:35Miami MarlinsBuy Tickets

Tags: Atlanta Braves Milwaukee Brewers Zack Greinke

  • FredOwens

    My salary predictions and Will are about $9M apart, he’s low on minimum wage – it’s 490 next year – and I think on Ventes Kimbrel and Freeman IF JV pitches like he can. I doubt they nontender EOF. if they’re going to do that they should package him in a trade so we get something for him. IF JJ comes back just ok he won’t get 8M in my opinion and I added in a Bourn contract as i guestimated in my post on his contract. The players on the 40 man get 7850 a year if they don’t move up or have better contract like Sutton. So I add 1.17M for that. Numbers aside, Griencke will want five years at least and MLBTR estimates the Cain contract (5 @ 112m) to be comparable. I wouldn’t give him that or near that. I might do 5 @ 60 with incentives but even with his stuff he’s flaky. Besides I don;t think LA is that high pressure. Ny, Philly, Boston Chicago yea but anywhere else he’s fine. You might see the M’s or Twinkies try to sign him, fits great there. Twinkies have no $$ right now but the Ms do.
    I’ve been trying to figure out how to get Porcello but both teams have the same needs so I doubt that happens.
    I think a Juan, Minor, Propsect package gets Garza. But we have no $$$ this year and the AJC they are considering borrowing against next year so anyone has to be cheap. That leave trades with other cheap clubs :) Working on that idea

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @FredOwens When a mid season trade is done how do they determine how much of his contract is paid by the team?

  • FredOwens

     @CarlosCollazo if there’s no deal between the teams to take back salary it’s a prorated of his whole salary. If three months left of a six month season they pay 50% incentives he may earn. It’s just alike assuming a loan. Unless the other guy gives you some of the money you pay the remaining balance.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @FredOwens And as of right now we have no money to work with correct? They would have to eat some for this season, probably ask for a bigger return in prospects if that’s the case…
     

  • leetro

    Maybe I’m a bit biased towards Greinke, since I see a lot of myself in him, but I don’t see how you can basically dismiss the great regular season performance because of one poor postseason.  He is in contention to start the All-Star game, and he has a very deserved Cy Young Award on his resume.  I don’t see him getting less than 5/90M.

  • FredOwens

     @CarlosCollazo The AJC said that they had discussed taking money from next year’s budget (borrowing it essentially or using a credit card) to acquire a pitcher this year so I suppose the term is that they lack liquidity. They have assets and guaranteed income but short of selling something they would rather not sell their option is to stand pat payroll wise or go in debt. If Liberty Media were to loan them money they MIGHT get a friendly rate but short term debt costs more than long term.
    If the we want Garza from the Cubs for example the Braves would have to find 4.75M or get the Cubs to take it back by making the trade worth the Cubs paying the salary by providing prospect the Cubs deem worth it. I suspect they’d want Teheran and at least two other mid level prospects. Garza has another arbitration year so he’s worth more to the Cubs because they have control so they could ask for a player to offset that as well because the deall has to be approved.
    When Wren made the deal to send Renetria to Detroit for JJ and Gorkys Hernandez he sent about half of Edgar’s salary along so they threw in Hernandez – who was never going to be a major leaguer – to make it look like a two for one for the Commissioner’s office who has to approve money in transactions.
    The commissioner’s office know these happen but isn’t in the business of valuing players so as long as it looks good they approve.
    Clear as mud? :-)
     

  • FredOwens

     @leetro I’m not dismissing him just saying that he’s going to cost too much in prospects we really don’t have as a rental and at your valuation of 5 at 90 – 18M a year – would be about 19% of payroll in 2013. That’s more than I think the Braves will spend and more than I think they’ll offer Bourn who’s value during a season is higher.
    Mlbtr suggests that 5 at 112 (Cain’s contract) or 22.5 a year is his comparable.  His thought process (I don’t need an agent heading into a walk year where an extension is likely to be offered) is at best outside the box and I’d suggest means he has no idea what he wants. We know a smaller market like the Brewers is his style so he’s going to get less than 22.5. How much he’s willing to turn down in order to stay out of NY Boston, no one knows including I suspect his agent. 
    Greinke’s stuff is fine and he may be an ace hiding under that insecure under pressure exterior. History says he’s subject to lapses that lower his value for me. he’s making 13.5M this year and If he’d sign for 5 at 75 with incentives I’d probably do that but, that means fan and management expectations of being our John Smoltz., Matt Cain, Chris Carpenter. can he carry that load mentally in perennial pennant races? I dunno. Would I bet 20M a year he could? No,

  • FredOwens

    from baseball prospectus – the whole article requires membership but here’s what they say about Greinke:
    Contract status 2012 salary remaining: ~$6.8 million Earliest free-agent eligibility: After 2012 Future guaranteed commitments: None (No Options etc.)
    Statistics Season to date: 96 IP, 2.81 ERA, 2.8 WARP Rest-of-season PECOTA projection: 96 IP, 3.30 ERA, 1.9 WARP 
     
    Observational Strengths: Greinke throws a handful of pitches and uses them all well. An unofficial count sees Greinke tossing three fastballs (four- and two-seamers and a cutter), two breaking balls (a slider and curveball), and a changeup. Oh, and his velocity is above-average, too. Greinke is in the midst of the second-best season of his career.
     
    Weaknesses: It’s impossible to discuss Greinke’s potential suitors without touching on his anxiety issues. Right or not, the concerns about how he manages a big market are not going away. The only other issues to take with Greinke are occasionally poor fastball command and a higher hit rate than one would expect from a pitcher with his stuff.
     
    Potential suitors Red Sox, Rangers, Braves, Dodgers –R.J. Anderson
     
    (I include the Fantasy info only because it addresses more strengths and provides good information we might not see elsewhere)
    Fantasy perspective Greinke has the potential to be one of the top pitchers in all of fantasy baseball over the rest of 2012 if he can remain in the National League, and pitcher’s parks in Atlanta and Los Angeles would be improvements over Milwaukee. Since the start of 2011, Greinke’s FIP has been third-best in baseball among qualified starters. While the sample size is far from sufficient, it’s interesting to note that Milwaukee’s PADE is second-worst in all of baseball, so a move to a good defensive team like the Rangers or Dodgers could bring his ERA down even further. —Derek Carty

  • Pingback: – Are the Atlanta Braves a Good Fit for Zack Greinke?

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @FredOwens  @leetro He’s been the best pitcher on every team he has been on so far in his career, so I don’t think there would be an increase of pressure on him. I also think he has put some of the anxiety struggles behind him. He’s going to get paid, and I hope we are the ones to do it. His stuff is ridiculous.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @FredOwens Without a doubt. Haha you do a good job of that. How bout Heyward? Must have seen my piece on him. lol

  • FredOwens

     @CarlosCollazo  @leetro John Morosi (according to MLBTR) on Greinke :
    Morosi is almost certain the Brewers will be sellers and notes that the Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals, Orioles, White Sox and Indians would like to upgrade their rotations. Morosi adds that the Rangers, Angels and Yankees had scouts at Greinke’s most recent start. Greinke, a free agent after the season, figures to obtain a qualifying from the Brewers this fall if he stays in Milwaukee. No other team can obtain draft pick compensation for Greinke if he leaves as a free agent this offseason.
    Talk is spinning in Texas that the Rangers might grab him in spite of having a lot of pitching. They would certainly be bidders in the off season. Cards, Dodgers, White Sox are a good fit too. Can’t see him being a Yankee, Oriole or Indian myself though Cleveland is certainly his kind of market.
    Yankee inside talks must be over his mental ability to withstand New York’s constant media pressure. Time will tell but I doubt the Braves go 110 for 5 years while the Dodgers and White Sox might. Just thinking out loud on the subject but as Carlos pointed out we are more likely to get a trade with little salary than a big salary. We are broke for the year unless Liberty unlocks some of that settlement they were just awarded as a present to the Braves- There have been nos signs of that  happening

  • FredOwens

     @CarlosCollazo Which piece?

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @FredOwens http://tomahawktake.com/2012/06/06/is-jason-heyward-the-superstar-we-all-thought-he-would-be/

  • FredOwens

     @CarlosCollazo Oh that piece :-) Jason is truly on a tear. The interesting part will come if/when he slumps again. We all knew he could do this the question was and is can he do this – okay not at this level – or close to this consistently or will he be a streaky player his whole career. At 22 it’s way too young to judge such things but I’d say he’s more the May Jason than the Jun Jason over time and that’s fine; he’ll have a good long career like that.  They are very Paul O’Neill like and that ain’t bad at all.  The hype suggested he could grow into Clemente range and he’s young enough to do that. Time will tell of course. I think there’s a post in there somewhere if I can chase the headache away.

  • derekmcarter

     @leetro I hope you’re right about the extension. I would much rather be happy with that deal than Cain’s extension. ATL could afford that. And I’d rather them use the money that would ordinarily go to extending McCann.

  • derekmcarter

     @FredOwens “we [ATL] are broke for the year unless Liberty unlocks some of that settlement”. 
     
    Broke for the year? The FO has already stated they’ve been approved to spend money from the 2013 budget if they think it’ll help them for the 2012 playoff run. With an estimated $40 million free this offseason, that’s substantial money that could be used to obtain a player like Greinke with good prospects and re-sign someone who has been quoted insinuating he doesn’t want to be the highest-paid player – which is different than what Hamels has said. Strangely, I don’t see money really being an issue, especially if we move on without Jurrjens.

  • BCinAlabama

    I am not big on rental players(I think in time the Giants will regret trading Zach Wheeler for rental Beltran), so if the Braves get Grienke do you (all) think it will come with a extension? I would think the Braves would need assurances to this.

  • FredOwens

     @derekmcarter Point me to the story that said McGuerk approved it. The one I read said they were considering it but no decision had been made. Still don’t think they go for Greinke unless he agrees beforehand to an extension. The Brewers do not have to extend that courtesy.

  • FredOwens

     @BCinAlabama That’s the only way to give a lot for Greinke but as I noted below the Brewers are not required to extend that courtesy and why would they? Teams will give them what they want or decline.  I read Greinke’s comments on pay but there is no reason to think he’ll take anything less than a raise on his current 13.5M so bare minimum would be something close to Cains 5 at 112 so even if he say ok I’ll take 5 @ 100 I doubt the Braves would do that.

  • jim fetterolf

    Can’t see a reason to waste prospects and players for a three month rental. If Zack thinks he fits in Atlanta and the money’s in the ballpark he’ll sign. If not he won’t. Best to trade prospects for a stud pitcher with more years of control, like the Nats did for Gio Gonzales.

  • kid_monkey

     @FredOwens 

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @jim fetterolf I think the Braves only make the deal if they can arrange an extension with Greinke before hand.