The Baltimore Sun reported last week the team was interested in Milwaukee Brewers SP Zach Greinke. For those who haven’t paid attention to baseball in recent years, Greinke is a good player. In fact, he’s a good player to the tune of a 3.77 career ERA and 1.251 career WHIP. Greinke is a good player, not a “good player when he’s healthy” or a “player who was good five years ago” or a “good player at home but not on the road”. There is no catch when it comes to Greinke. Greinke is just a good player. The Orioles need more of them.
(I guess there’a an argument that Greinke is a good player when he’s not ejected after four pitches, but I don’t think we should assume that’s an issue that will continue moving forward.)
The question fans and analysts have debated over the course of the last few days is whether or not it would be worth giving up a potential future good player like Bundy or Machado to acquire Greinke. Most seem to believe it would be a mistake to give up the participants in the All-Star Futures Game considering Greinke would likely only be a rental player until he reaches free agency at the end of the season. Some have suggested the Birds attempt to make the deal using P Brian Matusz as bait instead of Bundy.
You remember Matusz-the rock star prospect thought of so highly he was believed to be untouchable in recent years? The guy whose career Cy Young Awards we started counting well before he had thrown a big league pitch? It’s basically the same story as Bundy, just after two failed stints in the bigs. But Bundy HAS to stay and Matusz is free to go, right?
It’s time to get ACTUAL good players. Not retreads like Thome, Jamie Moyer, Miguel Tejada, Vladimir Guerrero or Sammy Sosa. Not semi-good players like Mark Reynolds or Derrek Lee. ACTUAL good players. It’s time to get them at the trade deadline. It’s time to get them in the offseason. It’s time to always get good players.
It’s reasonable to think the Birds could ultimately regret dealing a prospect like Bundy and seeing Greinke depart in the offseason for a divisional rival. Of course, it’s also reasonable to suggest that the Birds could trade for Greinke and then offer him more money than anyone else in the offseason to keep him around. They could also spend that money to bring in another front line starter like Cole Hamels.
Or they could do none of the above. They could certainly make a decision to hope Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman can turn one solid start into a half season of consistency instead of taking on a “rental” pitcher. They could pass on acquiring a good pitcher in the offseason and instead try to make history by having their Opening Day starter get demoted to the minors in back to back seasons.
I’d prefer the “good players” option myself. I’d prefer to acquire real players instead of giving away roster spots to the likes of Ryan Flaherty for an entire season.
I’d also prefer to consistently be in position to win games. We’ll see if I’m the only one.