The Phantastic 4?: Are The Philadelphia Phillies Looking To Acquire Zack Greinke

December 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

According to a report by Jim Salisbury, Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has acknowledged that the Phillies have not only discussed dealing for Kansas City Royals’ ace Zack Greinke internally, but they have also talked to the Royals about potentially making a trade. While Amaro contends that the possibility of this deal occurring remains slim, any acknowledgement of interest from the highly ambitious and normally tight lipped Amaro means that the possibility does exist.

Much like Pat Gillick, the former Phillies GM and upcoming Hall of Fame Inductee who mentors him, Amaro has developed a reputation of being willing to trade for top quality talent, especially starting pitchers. In his two year stint as general manager for the Phillies, he has traded for three legitimate ace pitchers in Cliff Lee (who he later traded away to Seattle), 2010 National League CY Young winner Roy Halladay, and former Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt. 

What do all three of these trades have in common? They were all preceded with very little fanfare on the part of the Phillies and Ruben Amaro in particular. In the weeks leading up to the Cliff Lee trade near the trade deadline of the 2009 season, it was well known throughout baseball that the Phillies were trying to work out a deal for Roy Halladay, who was then a Toronto Blue Jay. As the deadline approached, Amaro decided to trade for Cleveland Indians’ pitcher Cliff Lee at a relative bargain price rather than sell the farm in order to acquire Halladay. Of course, this turned out to be a very good thing when Lee, pitching in his first postseason, led the Phillies to within two victories of a second consecutive World Series Championship.

In the end, however, Amaro got his man, acquiring for Roy Halladay last December in a trade that caught many off guard. In the time leading up to the trade, Amaro admitted that the Phillies still had an interest in Halladay but repeatedly said that the possibilities of a deal remained remote. Even more shocking though, was his decision to trade World Series hero Cliff Lee to Seattle in order to lower the payroll and restock the farm system. It was a decision that still haunts him to this day, although he did partially redeem himself by acquiring Roy Oswalt at last year’s trade deadline. (This trade was also a bit of a surprise.)

It is clear that Ruben Amaro is not only willing and able to make big time trades, but that he also likes to fly under the radar when doing so. This does not mean, however, that Amaro is being deceitful by calling any deal for Greinke a long shot. There are multiple obstacles that would hinder any trade for the Royals’ ace.   

First and foremost is that the Royals are listening to offers for Greinke, but have no pressing need to move him, so they will not accept anything less than what they feel is fair value. The Phillies’ farm system has lost some of its more valuable prospects in the previously mentioned trades, but there are still enough quality pieces there to get a trade done. The question is whether or not they will be willing to lose even more of their prospects, especially as fears that the Phillies are becoming too old have started to be raised by both the fans and the media.

Another potential problem is Greinke’s trade clause, which lets him veto trades to up to 15 different teams. Whether or not the Phillies would be one of these teams is not known, but it has been reported that Greinke wants to go to a contender, which the Phillies are. However, it has been speculated by some people that he would prefer a small market team where he would not be hounded by the media.

From the Phillies’ side of things, the biggest hold up if they decide that Greinke is worth the Royals’ asking price is the additional payroll that Greinke would add. In order to acquire him, they would either need to trade away at least one of their big league players (possibly Raul Ibanez or Joe Blanton) or go over their self imposed $150 million cap. They have stated that they would be willing to go over their cap for the right player, which Greinke, the 2009 AL CY Young Award winner, would probably be. 

Despite all of these obstacles, if the Phillies do find a way to acquire Zack Greinke, they would have not only the best pitching staff in all of baseball, but one of the top rotations of all time. With the offensive output down across the board last season, adding Greinke could go a long way, especially if this downward trend continues.  Although starting pitching is relatively low on the Phillies’ priority list for this off-season a pitcher of Greinke’s caliber is worth acquiring no matter what your other needs are. In his short time as general manager, Ruben Amaro has consistently shown that he usually has a card or two up his sleeve, and don’t be surprised if this time that card is another ace.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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