Chicago Cubs News

Trading For Zack Greinke Would Make Sense

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As Chicago Cubs sit at home during the postseason, they should be observing what all the remaining postseason teams have that they don’t. And, that is a true ace pitcher, who consistently gives them a chance to win the game every five days when he takes the mound. Whether it is C.C. Sabathia with the Yankees, Cliff Lee with the Rangers, Tim Lincecum with the Giants, or Roy Halladay with the Phillies. Furthering the belief that if you are going to be successful in the MLB you are going to need a quality ace pitcher, something that neither Ryan Dempster nor Carlos Zambrano is with the Chicago Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs would love to add a top flight starting pitcher this off-season, but they are not going to have the resources to make a run at Cliff Lee if he hits the open market. Not, to mention Lee is expected to be heavily coveted by the Yankees, Rangers, Boston Red Sox, and Washington Nationals.

However, the Chicago Cubs may have a chance to trade for a quality ace, as the Kansas City Royals intend to listen to “any and all offers” for their ace Zack Greinnke. The Chicago Cubs figure to make a run at trading for Greinke, much like they tried to trade for him in 2007. To the Cubs benefit, Greinke would fit into the Cubs budget as he has two years left on his contract making $13.5MM each during those two years.

Zack Geinke,27, is exactly what the Chicago Cubs need this off-season, a true ace who is an innings eater. Greinke has gone over 200 innings pitched in his last three seasons, including going over 220 innings in the past two seasons. He has a career ERA of 3.82, while having ERA’s of 3.47,2.16,and 4.17 in 2008.2009, and 2010 respectively.

Now, the Chicago Cubs are expected to be joined by several other teams that may make a run at Greinke. So the Cubs are going to have to be willing to trade some of their top prospects in order to give them the best chances at landing Greinke.

This may surprise some, but the first player I would put on the table for the Chicago Cubs is closer Carlos Marmol. Before you say I’m crazy and stupid for suggesting that Marmol be traded, hear me out. At 28, Carlos Marmol is at the peak of his career and worth as much as he probably will ever be in his career. Seeing as he is a closer, he really does not have much value to a team that is entering a developmental phase for the next two or three seasons. Seeing as Greinke is only 27, he would give the Cubs much more value and potential over the next 5 to 10 years then Carlos Marmol would. Also, with Carlos Marmol going to arbitration this year, I’m sure the Chicago Cubs would much rather pay $13.5MM for an ace pitcher, instead of potentially $6MM to $7MM for a closer.

The next prospect I would put on the table would be third baseman Joshua Vitters. The Chicago Cubs drafted Vitters with the third selection in the 2007 MLB draft. Vitters came into the 2010 season rated at #70 of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects. However, the Chicago Cubs have not been that impressed with Vitters production, which is why they may be willing to trade him. Keep in mind, that the Chicago Cubs were willing to include Vitters in package to trade for Jake Peavy in 2009, before he was eventually traded to the Chicago White Sox. The Chicago Cubs also have not really envisioned Vitters as being part of their future given his lack of production, so it is fair to say that Vitters may have a better future in Kansas City instead of Chicago.

The next and final prospect I would put in a package to get Zack Greinke, would be pitching prospect Jay Jackson. Jackson was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the ninth round of the 2008 MLB draft. Jackson has seen really good success in the minor leagues prior to the 2010 season. 2010 was Jackson’s first full year at triple A-Iowa where he went 11-8 as a starter and a reliever with and ERA of 4.63. There is also a very strong chance that Jackson may eventually be passed up in the Chicago Cubs organization by Chris Archer, who has gained a lot of national attention while pitching for Team USA.

To conclude, the package the Cubs should focus their offer around is closer Carlos Marmol, third baseman Josh Vitters, and pitcher Jay Jackson for Zach Greinke of the Kansas City Royals. While the Cubs would be giving up a high price, in the end, I feel Greinke would be more valuable than the three players/prospects we would be giving up.

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