Some rumblings about Zack Greinke going to the Braves

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I call the noise surrounding Zack Greinke possibly being traded to the Braves “rumblings” because they’re something less than rumors. But they’re not nothing. Starting from the notion that (a) the Brewers probably want to trade Greinke; and (b) the Braves could use starting pitching, we go to:

Braves fans who follow O’Brien will recognize this as significant simply because O’Brien rarely if ever oversells the Braves’ interest in anyone. To the contrary, he’s usually quick to shoot down unreasonable trade speculation among the fan base, even if the speculation is not necessarily wild. So if he’s saying the Braves are “seriously considering” Atlanta, that’s something.

Of course the rental aspect of Greinke — and the Braves’ recent lack of willingness to spend big money on, well, anyone other than Dan Uggla — puts some cold water on it. Sure, O’Brien says the Braves may be OK with a rental. But if there’s no long term possibility?

As we saw last time he was about to leave a team, Zack Greinke has some very definite ideas about where he wants to play — and where he doesn’t want to play. And one former teammate said Greinke would like to be an Atlanta Brave, if given the chance.

According to Greinke’s friend, he very much likes Atlanta, and its proximity to his Florida home would be another plus (Greinke hails from the Orlando area).

Well, maybe Greinke would be open to a long term thing with Atlanta after all.  Of course, the citation to a “friend” is a Jon Heyman special, and this is a Jon Heyman report.  Also worth noting that rare is the case that these geographic preference reports carry much weight. Remember how CC Sabathia wanted to be in California and Cliff Lee wanted to be someplace more like Arkansas than Philly?  Yeah. Money talks.

But again, it’s not nothing. And when a team as shy to pull the trigger on anything as the late-model Braves are get mentioned as  “seriously considering” anything, you at least have to take some notice.

Josh Harrison wants out of Pittsburgh

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In the wake of the Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole trades, Pirates infielder Josh Harrison released a statement to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic today in which he said he’d like to be traded if the Pirates are going to rebuild over the next couple of years.

Harrison said “If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded,” He couched it all in is love of Pittsburgh and his desire to win in Pittsburgh, adding “I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer,” but he said “I just lost two of my closest friends in the game. Cole and Cutch were not just friends, they were the best pitcher and best position player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond.”

Harrison is under team control on a very team-friendly contract that has him locked up through 2018 with the Pirates holding pretty cheap team options for 2019 and 2020. He’ll make $10 million this year and if the Pirates want to keep him they’ll owe him $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020, with $1 million and $500,000 buyouts, respectively. Harrison played second, third and in the outfield in 2017 and hit .272/.339/.432 with 16 homers and 12 stolen bases.

Part of Harrison’s statement included the phrase “baseball is a business.” That is correct, and when Harrison signed his deal he had to know that the Pirates could blow things up, trade him or anything else during its term. That’s simply a risk one runs when one agrees to a deal that buys out free agency years. At the same time, it can’t be at all fun to be part of a tear-down process the likes of which is now getting underway in Pittsburgh, and it’d be hard to say any of us would feel differently than Harrison does if we were in his shoes.

All of that said, Harrison may very well get his wish. Rosenthal writes that the Mets, Yankees, and Brewers are among the teams with reported interest in Harrison. There are probably way more who would make a good offer for him given his versatility and given how often recent World Series winners have featured a player with exactly that kind of versatility (think Ben Zobrist and Marwin Gonzalez).

My guess is that he’s either going to be dealt now or at the deadline this coming season.