Zack Greinke is three months from cashing in as a free agent and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that other teams believe the Brewers are preparing to trade him if they can’t agree to a long-term extension by July 31.
Milwaukee is 7.5 games out of the NL Central lead at 33-40, but the addition of the second Wild Card playoff spot will make it tougher for under-performing teams like the Brewers to commit to being sellers as early as usual.
General manager Doug Melvin told Rosenthal that no decisions have been made about potentially trading veterans and also declined to specifically address Greinke’s contract status.
Greinke has been fantastic for the Brewers since they acquired him from the Royals in December of 2010 for Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jeremy Jeffress, starting 43 games with a 3.46 ERA and 300/66 K/BB ratio in 268 innings. That includes a 15-0 record and 2.47 ERA in 21 starts at Miller Park.
He seems destined to top $100 million as a free agent, so the Brewers’ three choices are making a huge long-term commitment, getting prospects for him via trade, or taking draft picks when he walks. In theory that should set the baseline for the Brewers’ asking price as more value than a first-round pick and a supplemental first-round pick, and it’s also worth noting that if Greinke is traded his new team won’t be eligible for that same compensation thanks to changes in the collective bargaining agreement.