Brewers “preparing to move” Zack Greinke if they can’t sign him to extension

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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.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.