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Can the Braves Find Room for Greinke?

Imagine this rotation: Zach Greinke, Kris Medlen, Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm and Mike Minor. Greinke is the top starting pitcher in this years’ free agent class. Could the Braves bring Greinke to Atlanta to form what could be one of the top rotations in baseball?

The Braves were linked to Greinke at the trading deadline last year so they did have an interest. John Schuerholz was asked at the Winter Meetings if the Braves still had an interest in bringing Greinke to the Braves. The Braves President took a long time in answering before saying it is something Frank Wren is looking into but is not at the top of his list. What does that mean? The Braves do have an interest if Greinke will come down on his asking price. The Braves would have to get creative financially because they still have to spend money on a third baseman/left fielder and have to add players to their bench, but they could make it work.

Greinke does have mutual interest in signing with the Braves. He could just name his price to play for the Dodgers or even break the bank with the Rangers so what would be his interest in signing with the Braves instead? The Braves are the closest team to his Florida home and he would be pitching in a smaller media market as he has in Kansas City and Milwaukee where he has thrived over his career. Now Greinke would have to take less to play for the Braves but where he feels comfortable pitching is a bigger issue than the money he signs for because he is going to paid a lot of money regardless of where he signs.

The Braves already potentially have a solid rotation and should have Brandon Beachy coming back around the All Star break but adding Greinke could vault their rotation to one of, if not the best in baseball. However, there are at least some question marks with every one of the Braves starters heading into the season. As good as Kris Medlen was at the end of last season can he pitch as well over a full season? Can Tim Hudson stay healthy, as he has spent time on the disabled list over the last few seasons. With Brandon Beachy’s injury you do not know how long it will take for him to come back or if he will have any setbacks. Even though he pitched well last season for the Braves and Cubs Paul Maholm has been an average pitcher for the most part over his career and which Mike Minor will the Braves get this season the terrible first half or the solid second half Minor? With the addition of Zack Greinke the Braves would fill their need for a power starting pitcher and top of the rotation starter that will strikeout a lot of batters as he has an averaged over eight strikeouts per nine innings pitched over his career. There are not many number one starters in baseball but if the Braves can make it work and sign Zack Greinke that would be a big addition to an already solid Braves team that is looking to go further in the postseason.

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  • fireboss

    Can’t see it happening but it would be nice. Greinke is looking for the big payday and liked the west coast atmosphere. I agree we are a power arm short of being in the top tier or rotations and also think Maholm will be his old average 5th starter self. It’s time for Teheran to step up if he’s not traded. Or we could get creative and trade him and pieces for Hellickson or Shields. More than likely we don’t sign a pitcher until the trade deadline if then.

  • Lee Trocinski

    Why does everybody rip players being “average?” You can’t just go out and scoop up such players, so you shouldn’t dismiss a pitcher like Maholm. An average-level starting pitcher is normally a 3 or 4, not exactly fungible.

    As far as signing Greinke goes, the Braves would be at $75-80M in committed dollars, plus an estimated $20M for arbitration guys. The Braves would have to trade at least $10M just to be able to fill out the roster. This would also likely leave Juan Francisco as the starting third baseman and no quality bench pieces. I think signing Greinke would create more holes than he can fix.

    • fireboss

      I didn’t read that as a rap. A fifth starter that’s average is what almost every team has. I think the point is that as of now we have no true ace. Medlen may eventually be that, Beachy as well but Hudson is past that point and Minor’s probably not going to be more than a two. Championship teams have at least one power arm. You can get to the post season but from there forward power arms are required. We don’t have that yet so saying that we would be in the next tear with one isn’t a rip on Maholm it’s just a fact.

      But as I said, Greinke ain’t coming to ATL for all the reasons you and I noted.

      • Lee Trocinski

        Tell the Giants that they need power arms in the rotation to win championships. Cain had the hardest average fastball this year at 91.2 MPH. Cain and Lincecum are no longer power arms. I’m guessing you were correlating velocity with K’s, but the whiffs are what you need to succeed against the good teams. Medlen showed that ability last year, Beachy has, especially in ’11, while Minor has glimpses of such ability.

        • fireboss

          And you equate power with speed, they are not the same thing. Power as in a hard deep slider, a heavy sinker or a a heater on top of the hands. Power with location. Cain is a power arm even though he isn’t throwing 98. Cain’s an ace, a true ace who can stop a losing streak and shut a team down. Everyone should know I believe Medlen is terribly under rated and has ace potential and stuff. He may be that guy – maybe ths year – but he’s not him yet. Beachy has the power overt power (speed) but he’s not there yet and won’t be just a year removed from TJ. Maybe in 2014 but that’s not a certainty.
          Power = Ks in the post season. The best post season pitchers – Smoltz Johnson Schilling Morris come to mind – had one or more of those pitches, put them where they wanted them and were able to repeat them over time. Medlen strikes people out with deception and control in the mold of Greg Maddux ( I did not say he is the next Maddux) but with a little more speed. Beachy’s secondary pitches were a work in progress when he was injured and his limited major league time – while impressive – isn’t enough to extrapolate a career as an ace yet. He too has the potential. Minor simply doesn’t have that kind of stuff. He’s more Glavine (he does throw harder than Glavine) than Sabbathia and like Medlen uses control and his wits to strike out hitters.
          Cain’s pitches move more and are faster than Medlen’s according to Texas Leaguers data and while they show Medlen has a higher K rate his sample size is smaller.

          I love the Medlen Beachy Minor trio and one or more of them may develop into that guy – maybe Medlen does it this year. But today, right now they aren’t.