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  • Could the Twins Sign Zack Greinke?

    The World Series is almost underway, which means that the official start of the offseason is rapidly approaching. When the free agent market opens up, one of the central figures will be Zack Greinke, who is the clear top dog in a deep pitching pack. The former Cy Young winner offers ace-level ability, youth and a durable track record.

    Sure, there are a few question marks surrounding the right-hander, who turns 29 this weekend. He's had some anxiety issues in the past, and his ERA in three seasons since winning the Cy Young with Kansas City is a somewhat pedestrian 3.83. Nevertheless, compared to this year's other big free agent prize, Josh Hamilton, Greinke looks like a perfectly safe bet. Many believe he'll get a nine-figure deal at a time where spending is ramping up and many clubs are looking for pitching help.

    As a team that needs pitching more desperately than perhaps any other, could the Twins be a player for Greinke? It certainly wouldn't be in their nature to bid on a top free agent pitcher, but things have changed (you'd hope) in the Target Field era and this franchise could use a jolt to re-energize the fan base. Given the lack of high-end pitching in the pipeline, securing an arm like Greinke for the next five or six years would make a whole lot of sense.

    It's difficult to envision Terry Ryan entering a bidding war against heavyweight suitors like the Angels and Rangers, but in a recent interview with ESPN 1500 he at least left open the possibility:

    "We've certainly got to pay attention to the biggest names out thereÖ We've got interest in those types of guys. Whether the years and dollars equate to what we're trying to do is another story."
    The last part of that quote seemingly rules out the possibility of a mega-contract for someone like Greinke. Then again, if the club was internally mulling that type of investment, you would hardly expect them to shout it out and alert the rest of the league to their intentions.

    More than most top-tier free agent pitchers, Greinke seems like a fit with Minnesota. He shies away from the bright spotlight more than your typical star player, and has spent nearly his entire career pitching in the Midwest. He's a quiet, cerebral guy that consistently throws strikes. This isn't a CC Sabathia or Cliff Lee, and he probably won't get paid like one, which could improve the chances for a club like the Twins.

    Of course, there are going to be a lot of teams making their pitch to Greinke this winter. Getting in that mix would not only be uncharacteristic for the Twins, it would be unprecedented. But, when you get down to it, they do have the money to make this type of splash if they really wanted to, especially when you consider that Justin Morneau's $14 million will come off the books in a year and revenue would likely rebound substantially with a star like Greinke brought aboard.

    Would they actually be willing to stray so far from their comfort zone and saddle themselves with another huge contract alongside Mauer's for the better part of the next decade? Difficult to fathom, but who knows. At some point, they need to stop operating like a small-market team.
    This article was originally published in blog: Could the Twins Sign Zack Greinke? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 39 Comments
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
      I think of all the high-end pitchers to come on the market in the last few years, Grienke would be the one would seem to be the most probable to come here. With his history, his reticence to play in a big market, and with what the Twins need, it seems like a fit.
      I would agree with that--BUT--should the Twins sign him?? Not at 5yrs/100million. He is about 30 years old--he has number 1 potential but has been up and down. A 5 year contract for Greinke will make the ChiSox deal with Peavy (who was Grienke a few years back) look good.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I recall reading somewhere that Greinke wants to play for a contender. But even if this is not true, I can't imagine the Twins bidding the kind of dollars and years that other teams will offer.
    1. twinsanity's Avatar
      twinsanity -
      Is it me or is there something about Greinke in this article's photo that reminds you of Michael Shannon's Agent Van Alden from Boardwalk Empire?
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      It was worth a chuckle
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Greinke should not and (thankfully) will be not singed by the Twins
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      I maintain the belief I have preached many times, that Grienke will not just go to whoever offers the most money. I suspect he also isn't quite as concerned with playing for a contender as he is playing for a team where he feels comfortable with the attitudes and his teammates.

      From a money standpoint, it's hard to say wether it would be worth it, because we don't actually know yet what he'll be gunning for in terms of salary.

      From a PR standpoint, it would be brilliant. It would be an unprecendented move for the Twins, and it would show that TR means business, and that they are committed to winning NOW and not 3-5 years from now. They are making an effort to maintain and build their season ticket base in advance of the all star game, and signing a #1 guy is going to do a whole lot more than trading for another 10+ year vetran in the twilight of his career.

      And who knows, maybe he will rebound to cy young form coming back to the AL for a whole season and not having to bat.

      All I know is, I'd rather see him at target field pitching for the Twins than against them
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      I'd love to have Greinke on the Twins but I think too many teams are going to bid on his name instead of his recent performance. He's a very good pitcher. He's not a great pitcher and has had his fair share of issues over the years.

      If you can get the guy for $14-15m a year for four years, you jump all over that. If you need to shell out $17-18m a year for five plus years, pass.

      And the $17-18m for five plus years is where I think he will fall.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Pass on Grienke, too much baggage and I wouldn't trust him in the playoffs, plus he would cost a fortune to sign.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      Wow, between Mauer's "aww schucks, give a 110%" Midwestern demeanor and Greinke's mental health issues, we would we would have about $300 million of money tied up in two guys with virtually no chance of serving any type of leadership purpose on this team.

      Or, if "leadership" is too amorphous a topic to debate on for you, let's just stick with the fact that it ain't going to happen. No way. If you think we're handcuffed my Mauer's deal NOW, at least Mauer played last year, won a batting title, and sells a boatload of tickets. Greinke could blow his arm out April 26th, and you'd be left holding the bag. If you're the Yankees, Red Sox, or Tigers, that'd be bad. If you're the Twins, you're looking at half-decade of guaranteed Triple-A baseball.

      This team is cutting payroll, and Terry Ryan simply doesn't believe in that type of reform. Teams are already making trades, and unless Terry has one of those lined up, we'll probably be sitting well after the Winter Meetings like we always do, waiting for the price to go down on the mid-tier guys we can actually afford.

      The ONLY good thing I can say about 2012 that might prove my assessment wrong is that it was a complete failure devoid of legitimate excuses. You had a healthy Mauer and Morneau, and Willingham was everything you could have hoped for and more. Yeah, there were a few injuries to the starting staff, but welcome to baseball. When your formula "works" and you still don't even sniff 70 wins, it might be time to reevaluate.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Way too much gets made of Grienke's anxiety disorder.

      I guarantee you that there are dozens of MLB players who also have anxiety disorders, but we've just never heard of it because they never sought help.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
      Wow, between Mauer's "aww schucks, give a 110%" Midwestern demeanor and Greinke's mental health issues, we would we would have about $300 million of money tied up in two guys with virtually no chance of serving any type of leadership purpose on this team.
      I'll take lead by example for $1000 Alex

      Mauer- .319/.416/.861, all just off his career average, a year after missing 80 games.

      Grienke- 8K/9, 3.51 K/BB ratio, career.

      I'll take that over some guy throwing cliches at me about how we have to "win one for the Gipper" and doing jumping jacks.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
      Wow, between Mauer's "aww schucks, give a 110%" Midwestern demeanor and Greinke's mental health issues, we would we would have about $300 million of money tied up in two guys with virtually no chance of serving any type of leadership purpose on this team.
      I'll take lead by example for $1000 Alex

      Mauer- .319/.416/.861, all just off his career average, a year after missing 80 games.

      Grienke- 8K/9, 3.51 K/BB ratio, career.

      I'll take that over some guy throwing cliches at me about how we have to "win one for the Gipper" and doing jumping jacks.
      Am I to infer that if Mauer were to say "We gotta win for Gardy", would not suffice to motivate all and turn things around?
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
      Wow, between Mauer's "aww schucks, give a 110%" Midwestern demeanor and Greinke's mental health issues, we would we would have about $300 million of money tied up in two guys with virtually no chance of serving any type of leadership purpose on this team.
      I'll take lead by example for $1000 Alex

      Mauer- .319/.416/.861, all just off his career average, a year after missing 80 games.

      Grienke- 8K/9, 3.51 K/BB ratio, career.

      I'll take that over some guy throwing cliches at me about how we have to "win one for the Gipper" and doing jumping jacks.
      Am I to infer that if Mauer were to say "We gotta win for Gardy", would not suffice to motivate all and turn things around?

      I much prefer Ugueth Urbina's "Win one or I'll ****ing kill you."
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      I much prefer Ugueth Urbina's "Win one or I'll ****ing kill you.

      And we have a winner for best motivational quote of the year!
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
      Wow, between Mauer's "aww schucks, give a 110%" Midwestern demeanor and Greinke's mental health issues, we would we would have about $300 million of money tied up in two guys with virtually no chance of serving any type of leadership purpose on this team.
      I'll take lead by example for $1000 Alex

      Mauer- .319/.416/.861, all just off his career average, a year after missing 80 games.

      Grienke- 8K/9, 3.51 K/BB ratio, career.

      I'll take that over some guy throwing cliches at me about how we have to "win one for the Gipper" and doing jumping jacks.
      Am I to infer that if Mauer were to say "We gotta win for Gardy", would not suffice to motivate all and turn things around?
      I believe that inference wold be accurate, yes.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by notoriousgod71 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
      Wow, between Mauer's "aww schucks, give a 110%" Midwestern demeanor and Greinke's mental health issues, we would we would have about $300 million of money tied up in two guys with virtually no chance of serving any type of leadership purpose on this team.
      I'll take lead by example for $1000 Alex

      Mauer- .319/.416/.861, all just off his career average, a year after missing 80 games.

      Grienke- 8K/9, 3.51 K/BB ratio, career.

      I'll take that over some guy throwing cliches at me about how we have to "win one for the Gipper" and doing jumping jacks.
      Am I to infer that if Mauer were to say "We gotta win for Gardy", would not suffice to motivate all and turn things around?

      I much prefer Ugueth Urbina's "Win one or I'll ****ing kill you."
      That is a classic, you're right much better. I'm not sure it would have the same level of crazy, scary coming from Mauer.
    1. BBWriterMan's Avatar
      BBWriterMan -
      Sign Greinke and deal Span for another mid-level starter? That sounds like a good plan to me
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      Take out his 2009 Cy Young season and he doesn't look all that special. He's a very good pitcher, significantly better than anything the Twins have, but not worthy of 5+ years and $90+ million dollars. Being the best FA pitcher on the market any given year does wonders for the inflation of salary for said player (see Wilson, C.J., or Lackey, John). That one season just looks crazy amongst all his other seasons, it's so much better than any of his others. And for someone who's now pitched in the majors for 9 years (though he missed most of a season back in '06), it's hard to believe he's ever getting anywhere near that '09 season again. Figure on seasons of around 100-120 ERA+ (i.e. occasionally average, occasionally very good) from him from here on out. A drastic improvement if you're the Twins, but they can't afford what he's probably going to get for what he's probably going to contribute.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ericchri View Post
      Take out his 2009 Cy Young season and he doesn't look all that special. He's a very good pitcher, significantly better than anything the Twins have, but not worthy of 5+ years and $90+ million dollars. Being the best FA pitcher on the market any given year does wonders for the inflation of salary for said player (see Wilson, C.J., or Lackey, John). That one season just looks crazy amongst all his other seasons, it's so much better than any of his others. And for someone who's now pitched in the majors for 9 years (though he missed most of a season back in '06), it's hard to believe he's ever getting anywhere near that '09 season again. Figure on seasons of around 100-120 ERA+ (i.e. occasionally average, occasionally very good) from him from here on out. A drastic improvement if you're the Twins, but they can't afford what he's probably going to get for what he's probably going to contribute.
      He's that guy that pitches like an ace but just hasn't been able to have that ace type season (except in '09). You've also kind of summed up the problems with signing FA starters. ALL OF THEM get overpaid. I like signing Greinke for 5/90 a lot more than a lesser and older starter for 4/50. Greinke's a workhorse that you can count on for 200+ innings of 3.50 or better pitcher. And I still think he pitches like that ace that the stats say he is.

      Reasons that you sign Greinke (stats since he secured a full time rotation spot)
      K rate
      8.14
      9.50
      7.50
      10.54
      8.48

      BB rate
      2-2.50 every season

      Innings
      202
      229
      220
      171 - offseason basketball injury
      212
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