One of the most unfortunate yet unintentionally hilarious things in baseball over the past several years is everyone playing armchair psychiatrist for Zack Greinke.
Yes, the guy took some time off several years ago with an anxiety issue. But, since then, he’s been talked about as if he suffers from some rare and strange disease that has turned him into a cross between, I dunno, Commander Data and a shambling mass of emotion and nerves rather than some guy who, like a ton of other people including a lot of people you know, have some issues with anxiety and depression from time to time.
You could see some of this chatter when Greinke was going out on the free agent market. People talking about “fit” with him in ways they don’t talk about it with other players. People wondering if he’d be more “comfortable” in Texas as opposed to Los Angeles or if, bless his fragile heart, he had better go back to Kansas City or Milwaukee where everything would be OK.
All of which makes his reasons for picking the Dodgers more fun. From Fox Sports’ Joe McDonnell:
Zack Greinke said that when it came down to choosing the Dodgers over other teams pursuing him, it was all about the money.
The new Dodgers right-hander said that he was leaning toward joining the Texas Rangers before taking the Dodgers’ offer of $147 million over six years.
“The negotiations changed,” he said.
Was it the money that put the Dodgers over the top?
Greinke smiled and said: “That’s what it comes down to at the end.”
Like Bogart said: he’s just like any other man, only more so. In this case: normal and honest.
Now, can we please stop treating Greinke like he’s an alien?
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.