Brewers GM Discusses Greinke

Zack Greinke doesn't see the need for an agent currently, but Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel not to read into that.  "I think he may end up doing a lot of this himself. Then, if it gets to a serious nature, he might get somebody to help," said Melvin.

Melvin said he first needs to talk to owner Mark Attanasio before he discusses a possible extension with Greinke.  The GM implied he'd prefer not to talk contract during the season.  Melvin cited four signed pitchers who I assume he considers comparable to Greinke; let's look more closely at each situation.

  • Greinke, 28, has a 3.82 ERA over 1279 2/3 career innings, though his 8.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9, as well as his 2009 Cy Young award, suggest he's better than his ERA.  A deal for Greinke would entirely cover free agent seasons, a key difference compared to some of the other contracts Melvin mentioned.  Greinke would have been a free agent after the 2010 season had he not signed a four-year, $38MM deal with the Royals in '09.  He's already made big money, unlike the comparables Melvin listed.  We don't know if that will give Greinke the security to seek top dollar or compel him to do the exact opposite.
  • Jered Weaver, a Scott Boras client, signed a five-year, $85MM extension with the Angels in August.  The contract included his final year of arbitration, so it was $70MM over four free agent years, a $17.5MM average annual value.  Weaver was also 28 at the time of the signing, and he had better career numbers than Greinke.  Two factors suppressed Weaver's price and term significantly: he strongly preferred to stay close to home, and he was a year and a month away from free agency.  Cole Hamels' agent has already stated the Weaver contract won't be a comparable, and Greinke might choose to toss it out as well.
  • Justin Verlander, a client of SFX Baseball, signed a five-year, $80MM deal, and Felix Hernandez, an Octagon client, signed a five-year, $78MM deal.  Both contracts covered two arbitration years and three free agent seasons, making them even worse comparables for Greinke.  Verlander received $20MM per free agent year and Hernandez got $19.3MM.  Verlander was coming off a better season than Greinke is, though he still had a 3.92 caree ERA at the time of signing.
  • C.J. Wilson, a client of Select Sports Group, recently signed a five-year, $77.5MM deal with the Angels.  Like Weaver, it appeared Wilson took less money because of his desire to play for the Halos.  Wilson's contract was signed on the open market following two seasons as a starting pitcher.  This seems closest to a legitimate comparable for Greinke, among the contracts Melvin named.

Despite the differences in service time in these comparables, the fact remains that Melvin cited a bunch of five-year deals in the $80MM range.  The Brewers' ceiling probably isn't much higher.  If Greinke is confident he can post a mid-3.00s ERA over 200 innings in 2012, he can land a six-year deal exceeding $100MM on the open market, even with the draft pick cost attached and possible competition from Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, and Anibal Sanchez.  And if Greinke doesn't go for a typical agency relationship, he'll save millions on commission.


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30 Comments on "Brewers GM Discusses Greinke"


3 years 6 months ago

Lock.  Him.  Up.

daveineg
3 years 6 months ago

You lock yourself up if he gets hurt or becomes ineffective.  Let him walk, take the draft picks and keep the salary flexibility.

pmollan
3 years 6 months ago

Crew has got to extend him prior to the end of the season.  If they wait until after, he could price himself out of Milwaukee.

jmag043
3 years 6 months ago

I’m sure Greinke would be thrilled about the big money and big pressure in New York or L.A.

notsureifsrs
3 years 6 months ago

the brewers don’t play in tampa. i think greinke is pretty much over the anxiety issues that bothered him years ago

pmollan
3 years 6 months ago

I think that social disorder stuff is a little over hyped.  If he ended up with the Yanks or Dodgers he wouldn’t even be the #1, taking some pressure off.  At any rate he could end up anywhere if he has a brilliant ’12.

randomkeys
3 years 6 months ago

There is no such thing as “taking some of the pressure off” if you’re a Yankee. No matter who you are, you are scrutinized, criticized and often (by rabid fans who settle for nothing short of record-setting brilliance) antagonized.

If Greinke has any concerns about pressure, becoming a #2 or #3 starter for the Yankees will not be enough to quell them.

James Reeder
3 years 6 months ago

Yes, lock him up now. If he has a cy young type year (which I think is a real possibility), then there’s no way the Crew will keep him…

daveineg
3 years 6 months ago

 He’s more likely to turn into John Lackey than he is of winning another Cy Young.  If he does win a Cy Young, do what they did with Fielder.  Wish him well, take the draft picks, use the money to buy or trade for whoever Oakland wants to trade next year, and promote Peralta and soon after Bradley and Jungmann.

daveineg
3 years 6 months ago

 He’s more likely to turn into John Lackey than he is of winning another Cy Young.  If he does win a Cy Young, do what they did with Fielder.  Wish him well, take the draft picks, use the money to buy or trade for whoever Oakland wants to trade next year, and promote Peralta and soon after Bradley and Jungmann.

jmag043
3 years 6 months ago

If he acts as his own agent and does 5/80 he will pocket more cash.

TophersReds
3 years 6 months ago

In other news… the sky is blue.

notsureifsrs
3 years 6 months ago

i’m a big greinke fan, but i don’t think an extension is a good idea for MIL. ideally 2012 is a playoff year for them. if they can stay in it until braun gets back, they’ve got a good shot. but if things go poorly out of the gate this year (as can happen with any good team, especially when their best player is out), they should probably trade greinke (and marcum) to get a jumpstart on restocking a farm that is pretty barren already

HowNeatIsThat
3 years 6 months ago

The other side of that is if they don’t negotiate with him now and he and the team comes roaring out of the gates, there will be far less of a chance to agree on a deal. They can’t trade him if they’re in contention, so they could very well lose him for very little compensation this offseason. You’d be playing a very dangerous game if you don’t approach him now.

notsureifsrs
3 years 6 months ago

true, but how dangerous it is depends on how long you imagine the brewers can remain in contention after 2012. greinke is going to command a big salary if kept, marcum is presumably gone, and as noted the farm does not have a lot of premium talent to offer (though i do like jungmann and bradley)

the real danger in my opinion is committing to greinke just to end up straddling the line: you never really rebuild, but never really get a great run at a title

daveineg
3 years 6 months ago

 It’s not as barren as you think in the pitching department.  They have 3 pitchers in top 100 of BA.  They get extra picks again this year for losing Fielder.  Their core players (Braun, Weeks, Hart, Lucroy, Ramirez, Axford) are all locked up for the next couple seasons so they don’t have a pressing need for young position players or a closer.  They are certainly positioned to contend beyond this season.

But they shouldn’t sign Greinke to a long term deal because he is overrated.  They cannot afford to have him turn into John Lackey after signing a long term deal.  As a small market they cannot risk having to carry that much dead money.  They need to build pitching from within or acquire it like they did for short term with Greinke and Marcum.

notsureifsrs
3 years 6 months ago

the fact that what little talent exists in the brewers farm is in the form of starting pitchers hardly counts as a reason to extend greinke, though

the ‘core’ of the team isn’t really that solid anymore when it comes to position players. the only standouts are braun weeks and hart. the first two are locked up long-term, but hart has just this year and next

the brewers are in a division with two strong clubs already in STL and CIN. the reds should go away by 2014, but the cubs will  probably be back by then. the pirates, too, will make noise eventually. there will be an additional wildcard, but the NL East will probably be claiming it

it’s just a tough situation with their market constraints and i don’t see any big commitment to a starter helping much. they’ll be good, but not good enough

if they aren’t leading the charge this july, i’d be tempted to move all of greinke, marcum, hart, and k-rod for prospect depth. the future could get pretty ugly without it

MilwaukeeBravesFan
3 years 6 months ago

Forgot about ARam… Maybe past his prime, but I would still consider him a solid player.

AmericanMovieFan
3 years 6 months ago

This begs the question: How complex are these deals? If Greinke acts as his own agent and gets a market-value deal then it could put the jobs of many agents at jeopardy. Sure, lots of players like not having to deal with the ugliness of negotiations and that’s partly why agents exist, but the business savvy part of what agents offer could definitely be called into question. Either way, whatever Greinke signs for, if he signs without an agent he’ll be collecting 5 to 10 cents more on the dollar than any other player in baseball, which will be a huge deal in and of itself.

3 years 6 months ago

 I agree, and I’m rooting for Greinke to pull it off because it’s interesting.  I’m sure he can hire a good contract lawyer for a few thousand bucks to make sure he’s not missing anything stupid, not that a team wooing him would try to pull a fast one.

AmericanMovieFan
3 years 6 months ago

I wonder how a contract lawyer would feel getting paid scale to help orchestrate a deal worth tens of millions of dollars. I suppose money is money, though.

3 years 6 months ago

 K-Rod is wondering too

Chillin_in_California
3 years 6 months ago

Zach Grienke= most overated pitcher in baseball. He has had one good year and everybody thinks he is some stud. Last year his Era was 3.83 the year before it was 4.17

michael hughes
3 years 6 months ago

I can’t tell if you’re kidding or not. One good year? How about of the best pitching seasons in the decade. 

randomkeys
3 years 6 months ago

By the standards of ERA+ (which is not the perfect stat, but it’s a reasonable one to use here), Greinke’s 2009 season (16-8, 2.16 ERA) is the 10th best season in the last twenty years. Pedro Martinez had a higher ERA+ four times, Roger Clemens twice, Greg Maddux twice, and Kevin Brown once.

Including that great season, his last four seasons (total) have come in at a 126 ERA+. Compared to other pitchers in the last forty years, looking at their age 24-27 seasons (like Greinke’s last four), there have been 18 better pitchers — but those include the likes of Johan Santana, Brandon Webb, Mike Hampton, Carlos Zambrano, and Jake Peavy, all of whom have seen their career go downhill due to injuries or other issues.

CyYoungSuppan
3 years 6 months ago

Because, as well all know on here, ERA is THE definitive stat when it comes to determining a pitcher’s quality.  Wait…it means next to nothing??  Whoa…

mauerfan
3 years 6 months ago

and his xFIP was one of the best in baseball..

Fishing Bill
3 years 6 months ago

Good for Zack Greinke for not paying a scumbag agent! Kudos

optionn
3 years 6 months ago

I am thinking Greinke is going to be more affordable than Weaver and definately Hamels.

3 years 6 months ago

Dodgers will sign Greinke for 2013 and beyond.  You heard it here first.