Insider is required to read this one, but according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Royals intend to listen to “any and all offers” for Zack Greinke.
The Royals have a nice stockpile of top prospects, including third baseman Mike Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer and left-hander John Lamb, but the franchise will probably not be in a position to contend until a couple years from now. Meanwhile, Greinke has two years and $27 million left on his current contract.
Greinke voiced his concerns to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star back in August:
“There’s no reason for me to get real excited about it,” he said, “because the chance of more than one of them making a major impact by the time my contract is up is pretty slim.”
Because the Royals have him for two more years, they really shouldn’t have a sense of urgency to deal him, but there’s an argument to be made that he could be the most coveted pitcher available this winter. Let’s be honest, only a couple of teams will even be able to enter the bidding for Cliff Lee, so the remainder of Greinke’s contract looks like a pretty decent bargain by comparison.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.