Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers is the top pitcher available at the 2012 MLB Trade Deadline on July 31, and more than a few teams will be exchanging calls with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin to get a feel for the asking price.
Of the teams interested, the Washington Nationals remain on the outskirts. Sure Greinke would be a nice addition to an already stellar rotation—and more than a capable replacement for Stephen Strasburg—but the Nationals really don’t need him.
Whether it’s a matter of want or need, the Nationals should put together a package of players capable of acquiring the young right-hander. There’s no doubting the fact that the Nationals have the talent to get it done. There’s also no doubting the fact that general manager Mike Rizzo knows what it takes to build a winning team.
Greinke is having a stellar season—nine wins, 3.44 ERA, 123 innings—so his trade value may never be higher. In a deal for him, the Nationals would have to be willing to part with Steve Lombardozzi, Ross Detwiler and some top-tier minor league talent. Anthony Rendon may have to be included in a deal, as would starter Alex Meyer.
That may not even be enough, though, as it’s rumored that the Brewers are seeking a young shortstop in return.
Should the Nationals acquire Greinke, they would become instant favorites to represent the National League in the World Series. With Strasburg’s innings limit all but set, a top three of Gio Gonzalez, Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann would easily be enough to win some games in the postseason.
A regular season top three of Gonzalez, Strasburg and Greinke is almost unfair, and that’s what they’d have for at least a month with Greinke on board.
The only obstacle could potentially be Greinke’s willingness to sign long-term in Washington. He is a free agent following the season, and may want to test the free agent market.
If the Lerner Family and Rizzo are willing to shell out the big bucks, though, there’s no reason to believe that a deal can’t be worked out. Although Cole Hamels is a lefty starter, his six-year, $144 million contract could be somewhat of a discussion-starter.
We’ll have to see how it plays out, but I think it’s safe to say that Nationals fans would be thrilled if Greinke became the newest ace in a staff already filled with quality pitchers.