The bright spots in the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers season have been few and far between. There's Ryan Braun somehow being better without Prince Fielder or PEDs (joke!), there's George Kottaras' emergence as the premier lothario of Milwaukee, there was Jonathan Lucroy, there's Aoki and then there is... uhh.. hmm... Well, that's about it really. There is almost nothing to warm you up and think that everything is going to be okay. Nothing that makes you belive this team can turn it around. Nothing that makes you sit back and say "I love baseball. I love the Brewers." I mean, nothing besides Zack Greinke at least.
For the past month Zack Greinke has been everything we dreamed he could be two winters ago. He has been an unstoppable, sophisticated pitching robot sent from the future to strikeout batters and change the future for one lucky lady. Every fifth day has been like sex and pastrami at the same time for Brewers fans. He's already posted a 3.6 WAR (wins above replacement) compared to his 3.9 last season. He's in line for an All-Sta Game start and on the shortlist for Cy Young contenders. Zack Greinke has been surreal, god-like, amazeballs and every other word you can think of to describe extreme awesomeness. We should be absolutely living the dream right now. Strutting around town in our Zack Greinke shirseys listening to "You're The Best" by Joe Esposito on replay forever. We should be writing songs about him.
- The Man they call Zack!
- We robbed from the Royals and he gave us some more,
- He stood up to the man and he gave him what for.
- Our love for him now, aint hard to explain,
The hero of Milwaukee,
The Man They Call Zack!
Unfortunately, that's not happening. Instead, Brewers fans who consider this season to be lost are calling for the Brewers to trade Zack Greinke and that gives me a sad face. See?
Hey, I get it. You don't want to have Zack Greinke on this team for a lost season and then see him leave for nothing in return. With all the big returns we've seen in recent years for a player of Zack Greinke's caliber it makes sense. It does. I know. He's a free agent after the season and there is no knowing if he will re-sign. Trade him. Get some awesome prospects. We can rebuild. We're not awesome now. Maybe we'll be awesome later. RIGHT!?
Here's the thing: I don't want to do that. I want Zack Greinke to come back. He likes it here. I know he does. Nobody boos him. There are only like three people with press passes and they are nice to him. The teams that would offer him a lot of money in free agency are not teams he wants to play for. New York? Zack would hate New York. Boston? Zack thinks clam chowder is overrated. Los Angeles? Zack hates movie stars. He likes the quiet. He enjoys being the best pitcher that is under the radar. He doesn't want ESPN camped outside of his house. He wants to pitch when he's scheduled to pitch and be left alone when he isn't. Zack wants Milwaukee. I truly believe he does and Milwaukee is the best place for him.
For whatever reason the contract negotiations have stalled and we are in this holding pattern right now. Are the Brewers afraid to commit to him? Maybe. If they are they should probably trade him. Does Zack Greinke's agent want him to wait and make all that he can in free agency? Maybe. He has to make himself seem worth that 10% somehow. Am I wrong and Zack really doesn't want to come back? Maybe. He's a hard to read guy.
The thing about trading Zack Greinke is that once he is traded it is over. He won't sign with us as a free agent. He just won't. It doesn't work that way and when it rarely does work that way it's because the team offered lots of money (ala Cliff Lee.) The Brewers need to sit down with Zack Greinke right now and lay it out. Tell him they want him to stay. Tell him what they're willing to offer and say that we need to get it done right now or we're probably going to trade you. Put the ball in his hands and if he doesn't want to do it, then trade him.
But trading him because we suck is not a good reason to trade him. Trade him only if you know he's gone. As I said yesterday a better bullpen would have the Brewers in the thick of things and the Brewers in 2013 with this same (good) offense, an improved bullpen and a returning Zack-Yo 1-2 has a great chance at contending. Let's not burn the house down because of some bad breaks. It can be fixed.