What’s Up With Zack Greinke?

Strange situation going on with Royals starter Zack Greinke.  He’s left spring training camp and probably won’t start the season in the Kansas City rotation.  The team is being weirdly mum on why he left.  Here’s what we think we know:

– Not drug-related (Royals)
– Not family-related (KC Star)
– Not in trouble with the team (MLB.com)
– Didn’t lose desire to play baseball (KC Star)
– Not a legal problem (Royals)
– Not an injury (Royals)

So Greinke is out indefinitely, and we’re left to play twenty questions to figure out why.  RotoWorld suggests that he may be upset to have to compete for a starting rotation spot.  The team just calls it a "personal matter."  Even ZackGreinke.com doesn’t shed any light on the subject, though you can download some new Greinke wallpaper for your computer and join his fan club.

What’s his deal?  It could be anything from an Omaha demotion to something serious like chemical dependency.  We can only hope that it’s simply a young kid having a hard time dealing with his employer, something that’s happened to all of us. 

It’s easy to take shots at Greinke after a 17 loss, 5.80 ERA season.  But keep in mind he’s still only 22 and he dominated the minor leagues.  His excellent Major League debut was for real.  He ran into some terrible luck as a 21 year-old #1 starter.  The Royals had the worst defense in baseball and the third-worst offense.  I’m not saying he was great last year, but if Greinke was pitching for the Cardinals in 2005 he might’ve won 15 games with a 4.25 ERA.  No joke.

To put an MLBTradeRumors slant on this thing, now would be the ideal time for some team to try to pluck Greinke from the hapless Royals while his value is at rock bottom.  Perhaps Royals management still considers him their future ace…but maybe they’re fed up and would happily accept Wily Mo Pena or Austin Kearns for him. 

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