It is no secret the Milwaukee Brewers want to sign Zack Greinke to a long-term contract extension to keep a solid ace in the starting rotation. The Brewers are closing in on a deal that would pay Greinke $100 million over five years, the same contract they offered Prince Fielder for those of you keeping score at home.
In a perfect world, Greinke would sign the extension right now and the Brewers would not have to worry about losing another face of the franchise. Also, they could focus on the next eight games they have against three solid division opponents who currently rank above them in the NL Central standings, opposed to worrying about if their star pitcher is going to be traded.
The problem with this is Greinke does not seem likely to pass up free agency. Even though he wants to pitch in a comfortable environment without the large market media while also playing for a contender, he wants to get paid. Greinke’s numbers this season (9-3, 3.57 ERA) are outstanding and should garner him a solid contract from a team that feels they are one good pitcher away from a World Series berth, or if you are the Texas Rangers, a World Series win.
If the Brewers want to keep Greinke, and sign him right now before he reaches the open market, they will have to scrape a little more cash together. I would say general manager Doug Melvin will have to go north of Matt Cain’s five-year, $112.5 million extension he received from the San Francisco Giants before the beginning of this season. Regardless of the perfect game Cain pitched a few weeks ago, many would consider Greinke the better pitcher. Everyone knew that extension screwed the Brewers chances of re-signing Greinke, but people fail to realize that the right-hander thoroughly enjoys playing in Milwaukee.
It is relatively unknown if Milwaukee has the finances to give a player a deal worth more than $20 million a year. The Brewers offered Fielder, C.C. Sabathia, and Ryan Braun that same deal. Fielder and Sabathia obviously declined for more lucrative contracts elsewhere, while Braun signed a long-term agreement that will keep him a Brewer for life. I believe that if Milwaukee could get near the same numbers Cain got, and I certainly think they can, Greinke will take the deal.
If Greinke does not sign and the Brewers do not win at least six of the next nine games to start the second half of the season (they already won one) then Milwaukee will have no choice but to deal him to a contender. Management owes the fans to get something good in return for him if it is clear they have no chance of signing him. Once Greinke hits the free agency waters, the Brewers have no shot at reeling him back in.
Greinke will continue to be the subject of all MLB Rumors, so we’ll continue you to update you on the situation.