What the Hamels, Phillies Extension Could Mean for Greinke, Brewers

It was reported on Twitter early, early Wednesday morning by FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal that LHP Cole Hamels is close to completing an agreement on a six-year contract extension with the Philadelphia Phillies worth “more than” $137.5 million.

Why am I posting news about the Phillies? Simple.

Hamels and Brewers RHP Zack Greinke were considered to be the two best pitchers potentially available on this year’s trading block with the lefty generally (and rightfully) garnering higher praise.

If Hamels finalizes an extension to keep him firmly entrenched with Philadelphia then Greinke becomes numero uno on the wish lists of pretty much any team looking for a starting pitcher.

Sure, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Josh Johnson, and possibly even Cliff Lee could all be on the move like Wandy Rodriguez was Tuesday evening, but the prize piece would now currently call Milwaukee home.

Teams like the Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Washington Nationals, whichever team of the Atlanta Braves or Los Angeles Dodgers doesn’t land Dempster, the Chicago White Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles…they all want to add starting pitching. Now not all of them match up in projects but enough do that a good ol’ fashioned bidding war could erupt around Greinke giving Brewers general manager Doug Melvin close to what he’s asking for in return for the enigmatic Greinke.

The stars certainly seem to be aligning a bit for a handsome package to be offered to and accepted by Melvin and subsequently presented to Brewer Nation in an attempt to maintain enthusiasm and ticket sales.

Could a Hamels extension force the Rangers to spend more than they want in terms of prospects? Possibly. They certainly have pieces at positions Melvin is said Rio be looking for. But then the Angels can’t possibly stand by while their division rival adds a front line starter, not when they themselves need help in the rotation.

The White Sox don’t have enough in their own farm system to deal directly for Greinke but perhaps their GM Kenny Williams could orchestrate a three-team deal. After all, the Detroit Tigers did just acquire Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez from the Miami Marlins.

The Nationals, who had a deal worked out with the Kansas City Royals to acquire Greinke back in the winter of 2010, could also use another piece on their quest to win the NL East. We already know they like Greinke.

Could the Dodgers view Greinke as a piece to get them over the hump in the West to beat out the San Francisco Giants?

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. If not, suffice it to say that things could get very interesting at One Brewers Way over the next couple of days.

And for the record, I know several people are demanding or at least suggesting that Greinke be traded before tomorrow’s game, but I think Melvin should slow play the hell out of this. Let the bidding war develop over the next three days and make the suitors sweat and hopefully panic their way into doing something irrational.

Buckle up, Brewer Nation.

5 Comments

I agree on the “slow play” tactic. But if Melvin is going to deal Greinke, then he needs to do it before his next start. No sense in risking a poor performance…or worse.

On the other hand, I would be OK if they reached a deal with Zack. He showed again last night how valuable he could be anchoring the rotation for the Brewers with Yo while the young pitchers coming up from the minors mature into the other three spots. It’s not like this is Jeff Suppan we are talking about–ZG is 28 and a top of the rotation talent.

Finally, as for a Greinke deal rekindling enthusiasm among the Brewers fan base, that might be true for those who track the game closely and follow the minor leagues. But the typical fan, the sort of guy who takes his girl to a few games a year, or the young family looking for some fun at the ol’ ball yard from time to time, probably isn’t going to get too excited about a Mike Olt coming to Milwaukee. They know Greinke; he was a big part of their division winning team last year; he’s never lost at Miller Park; some even might recall he won the Cy Young. But I would be surprised if the acquisition of a 23 year old AA player spins the turnstiles for most of those who fill the seats at Miller Park. Sure, Twitter and the Internet will be delighted, but rank and file fans will be saying “Mike who?”…

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Hey, they could trade him to the Nationals, and he could pitch against us on Sunday!

It pains me to say this, but this is actually the best time to have a firesale. Ticket sales are still going to be fairly decent given last years playoff push and plenty of people buying 9-20 game packs in order to get last year playoff tickets. They will inevitably take a shot if we trade Greinke, Ramirez, Hart, Marcum, Wolf, K-Rod, Axford etc… but if we can get some pieces like a Mike Olt or Zack Lee (that’s a little more optimistic…) and clear some payroll in the process? I think you gotta do it. Worry about the future of the team, and not so much the current debacle we’re in.

Yeah, prospects…there is an awfully high fail rate there. Makes me think of Matt Mieske. A jewel in the SD system, the key part of the Gary Sheffield trade, ended up being Just a Guy in MKE.

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