Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that the Blue Jays have inquired about Zack Greinke.
Interesting. No one knows if Toronto is one of the 20 teams for which Greinke has no-trade protection this year (it goes down to 15 next year). On the one hand, Toronto is a giant city, so maybe it’s somewhere Greinke — who has suffered from anxiety disorder — wouldn’t want to go. On the other hand, since he wouldn’t be playing for the Leafs, it’s not like he’d have 25 microphones shoved in his face after every game. For all of its size, Toronto is more of a smallish town in baseball terms. And of course, none of that may matter a bit because the only people who know the specifics with respect to Greinke’s history with anxiety are him, his wife, his doctor and probably the Royals. It may be that he wants to avoid places like New York because he’s averse to good deli food, not because of the size and bustle of the place. We’re all just guessing.
As for what it might take to land Greinke, it was reported yesterday that Dayton Moore is asking for “two can’t-miss prospects,” one of whom should be a pitcher with Greinke’s ceiling. The Blue Jays have one of those in Kyle Drabek, but that seems like an awfully steep price to pay for a guy who is going to cost $13 million and only be guaranteed to be around for two more seasons.
But hey, the Royals are wheelin’ and dealing already, so maybe something happens with Greinke soon too.
Marc Carig of The Athletic reports that the Mets have interviewed Dave Littlefield to fill the club’s GM vacancy. The position hasn’t exactly been a popular one for potential candidates, with many preemptively taking their name out of consideration.
Littlefield, 58, was the Pirates’ GM between 2001-07. It didn’t exactly go well. The club never won more than 75 games during his tenure. Littlefield was also infamous for the 2003 Rule 5 draft in which he carelessly left several valuable players unprotected, including Chris Shelton and José Bautista. Littlefield was also criticized for trades he made (e.g. Aramis Ramírez) and for trades he didn’t make (e.g. Kris Benson for Ryan Howard).
In the time since, Littlefield worked as a scout for the Cubs, then for the Tigers. Since 2015, he has worked as the vice president of player development for the Tigers. Littlefield’s successor, Neal Huntington, went on to have more success which didn’t help Littlefield’s cause any. Huntington was also comparatively much more open to analytics.
The Mets’ interest in Littlefield isn’t surprising. There are plenty of up-and-coming GM candidates — like Ben Cherington — the Mets could target, but Fred Wilpon (pictured above) want that. They want someone malleable who will adhere to payroll constrictions. Mets ownership’s involvement is an issue for the younger, analytics-oriented executives, Matt Ehalt of The Record reported earlier this month. Ehalt wrote, “There are rumblings that several candidates with progressive, analytics-oriented approaches do not believe they will be able to operate as they please should they take the Mets job, according to a source. That hesitation played a factor in why former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington bowed out of the mix, per the source.”
You have to feel bad for Mets fans, who seem relegated to having to root for a middling ballclub once again. And you have to feel bad for the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, who will once again have to perform for a team that doesn’t have competing as its chief priority.