Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yankees spinning non-trade for Greinke

If you believe the New York Post, the New York Yankees did not trade for Zack Greinke because the Kansas City Royals wanted the moon for their young ace. I don't buy it. I think the Yankees are spinning the story, once again with the eager help of the Post's baseball staff.

Brian Cashman & Co had legitimate concerns about Greinke's ability to thrive and survive in New York. There is a long list of baseball players who failed to do well in the Bronx, including a surefire Hall of Famer in Randy Johnson. Javier Vazquez blew a second chance at pinstripe success just this year.

I give Greinke a lot of credit for coming back from his battle with depression and anxiety. But I can’t fault the Yankees if they were worried that he couldn’t handle the tremendous pressure that creates must-win games in April and May or the verbal and back-page thrashing he would get from the Yankee faithful and the media if he couldn’t win big games against the Boston Red Sox.

So why spin the story? After losing Cliff Lee, the Yankees know that other teams smell blood in the water. So they turn down an offer for a top pitcher, but a guy they didn't really want, claiming that the price was too high. They want to put it into the heads of general managers all around baseball that they weren't willing to trade their top prospects, even for a talented and relatively inexpensive guy like Greinke, so that those GMs don't demand the moon when they approach the Yankees with trade proposals.

It's a smart move on the Yankees part. They may have been willing to trade Jesus Montero and other prospects for Lee or Greinke, but they sure as hell don’t want to trade them for a second-tier pitcher. Cashman is already talking up the possibility of Ivan Nova and some other kid in the minor-league system coming up to fill a spot if Andy Pettitte finally does call it quits. There's no real chance of two kids making the big club’s starting staff because of how poorly it worked out the last time the Yankees relied on youngsters to fill out their rotation. But the Yankees want to put their best spin forward so other teams don’t think they are desperate.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. Anyone else want to hazard a guess?

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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