Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has dropped some very strong hints that he’ll be trading Zack Greinke before Tuesday’s deadline, but now he’s left zero doubt.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today spoke to Melvin today and reports that he “will definitely be traded.”
Melvin said previously that the Brewers would deal Greinke if they couldn’t work out a long-term contract extension before the July 31 deadline and admitted to Nightengale that they haven’t negotiated since spring training because Greinke wants to test the market as a free agent:
I don’t think Zack is about the money personally. You get a young guy that’s , and in my conversations with him, you get a chance to be a free agent one time. You’ve got to look at that opportunity. He’s been in a small market here. A small market in Kansas City. He’s always said he enjoyed in, but he wants to take a look at everything out there.
There’s always been speculation that Greinke wouldn’t have interest in playing for a big-market team because of his social anxiety issues, but it’s not as if the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers will be the only teams willing to offer him a ton of money as a free agent.
Melvin described Greinke as “like a son to me” and praised his presence in the Brewers’ clubhouse, saying “it’s been a great experience having him for a year and a half.” And during that year-and-a-half Greinke is 25-9 with a 3.67 ERA and 323 strikeouts in 295 innings.
Nightengale lists the Rangers, Angels, Braves, and White Sox as the primary suitors for Greinke, but as Melvin said: “There are a lot of teams that have shown interest. … There are so many good things about him, it’s going to be difficult when we trade him.”
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.