The Royals may be more motivated to trade Zack Greinke than we first realized.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, execs believe that the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner will “probably” be traded, while he throws the Rangers out there as one interested team. Presumably, trade talks would heat up if Cliff Lee ended up with the Yankees.
And here’s what one American League executive told Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
The Royals, in the words of the executive, are “spooked” by what happened to David DeJesus . They had a deal worked out with the Rays as the trade deadline approached last season, but on July 23, DeJesus tore tendons in his right thumb and the deal had to be scratched. “They can’t afford Greinke to have a mental relapse or a physical issue and his value to go to zero,” the executive said. Greinke has a well-documented battle with anxiety in his past.
The potential for injury is always there with any player, so Greinke is no different in that regard, but there’s no way to know if this executive has any inside information regarding the right-hander’s anxiety condition or is merely guessing just like the rest of us. Chances are the only people who really know are those among his inner circle. This executive probably isn’t one of them.
Of course, the most logical reason to trade him before next season is that there aren’t any true aces available in free agency this winter outside of the aforementioned Lee. Greinke can control his destiny to a certain degree because of a no-trade list that can block a deal to 20 teams (it decreases to 15 next year), but he makes $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons, a fairly reasonable sum for an ace, even for a mid-market team.
Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.
This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.
The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.
Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.
Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.