Brewers “preparing to move” Zack Greinke if they can’t sign him to extension

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Zack Greinke is three months from cashing in as a free agent and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that other teams believe the Brewers are preparing to trade him if they can’t agree to a long-term extension by July 31.

Milwaukee is 7.5 games out of the NL Central lead at 33-40, but the addition of the second Wild Card playoff spot will make it tougher for under-performing teams like the Brewers to commit to being sellers as early as usual.

General manager Doug Melvin told Rosenthal that no decisions have been made about potentially trading veterans and also declined to specifically address Greinke’s contract status.

Greinke has been fantastic for the Brewers since they acquired him from the Royals in December of 2010 for Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jeremy Jeffress, starting 43 games with a 3.46 ERA and 300/66 K/BB ratio in 268 innings. That includes a 15-0 record and 2.47 ERA in 21 starts at Miller Park.

He seems destined to top $100 million as a free agent, so the Brewers’ three choices are making a huge long-term commitment, getting prospects for him via trade, or taking draft picks when he walks. In theory that should set the baseline for the Brewers’ asking price as more value than a first-round pick and a supplemental first-round pick, and it’s also worth noting that if Greinke is traded his new team won’t be eligible for that same compensation thanks to changes in the collective bargaining agreement.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.