Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Time To Roll The Dice On Greinke

You should never make a move in reaction to another's move unless your playing chess or at war, and when I say war I really mean war (Note to Kellen Winslow Jr.).

Brian Cashman made a number of poor moves last winter. Nick Johnson chief among them. This off-season the main focus has been on Cliff Lee. We all know how that panned out. But that had nothing to do with Cashman, though some feel otherwise. Lee never wanted to play in NY and for that matter didn't want to return to Texas either. I doubt Nolan Ryan is getting vilified in Arlington.

More importantly, the Yankees chief rival in the AL East has gotten stronger. Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez have replaced Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre in the lineup. That's a big plus for the Red Sox especially since, at the moment, the Yankees have no left-hander in the starting rotation.

So what's an elfin, building rappelling GM to do? Go hard after Zack Greinke. The Royals righty has decided he's had enough of bad baseball in Kansas City. The team has no hope for contending especially since ownership is putting their luxury tax dollars right into their own pockets.

We all know that Greinke has been dealing with anxiety issues. He's not the only one in major league baseball or in life to do so. Not all have gone public with their inner demons. It's now a trendy thing too, but it's still taboo in many circles to admit to "mental" issues. People hear the word mental and they think psychotic which is absurd. Some of us deal with anxiety, depression, or other psychological issues on a daily basis. That's what therapy and/or meds are for, unless your Tom Cruise of course.

The Yankees rotation right now is CC Sabathia (A+), Phil Hughes (B), A.J. Burnett (A, B, C, D, F depending on the day; hell, depending on the inning). My feeling is Andy Pettitte will be back, but until he makes his mind up, and decides he likes the money figure, that's up in the air. The rest is Ivan Nova (high upside, little experience), Sergio Mitre (experience, mediocre), and a bunch of kids who aren't ready for prime time.

Felix Hernandez isn't going anywhere according to the Seattle Mariners hierarchy. The remaining free agent starters aren't front end guys, unless you count Carl Pavano. Don't make me laugh.

As the headline says, it's time for the Yankees and Brian Cashman to roll the dice on Zack Greinke. Perhaps they have studied reports about Greinke's well-being. We know that playing in the plain states is not the same as playing in the Big Apple. NYC has chewed up many a player (Yes, Bobby Bonilla had the smile wiped off his face), who thought they could handle it. But Greinke isn't the same guy he was three years ago. People get past the things holding them back and they get better. I know from experience.

Greinke had his ups and downs this past season on the mound, but playing for a bad team with little fan support doesn't help. Playing with a passionate fan base, with a lineup that can hit, and with a defense can support you will do wonders for your game. Yes, he will have to listen to monotonous questions about his well being. It's best to hold a press conference with no or little questions (the Yankees can see to that) and get it out of the way immediately if they land him.

Greinke won't come cheaply. Possibly Jesus Montero. Ivan Nova. Brandon Laird. Andrew Backman. Delin Betances. Gary Sanchez Hector Noesi. Those are names I'm throwing won't take all of them.

Greinke makes $11.5M in 2011 and $13.5M in 2012. That's $25M off the Royals payroll, which means the Yankees shouldn't have to give up as much either if the Royals were taking some of the money on.

The time is now. The Rays are going to be considerably weaker than the last year. The Red Sox offense has gotten stronger, their pen better with the addition of Bobby Jenks, but their rotation still has questions. Jon Lester is a stud. Josh Beckett is coming off an awful year, which included injury. John Lackey is on the downside. Clay Buchholz was magnificent, but can he repeat? Dice-K, Tim Wakefield? More awful than good.

Only one team should make it out of the west, but the White Sox and Twins will battle for both the AL Central and Wild Card, which means the Yankees MUST bolster their starting rotation and bullpen in order to REALLY compete in the AL East and for the Wild Card.

So roll the dice Brian Cashman, roll the dice. Show the Yankees fan base you have the stomach for it.

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