The Royals boast baseball's best farm system, deep with impact bats and power arms, but the timetable for those prospects might not match up with their best player, starter Zack Greinke. Because of that, ESPN's Buster Olney reports (Insider req'd) that the team intends to listen to "any and all" offers for the righthander, who has two years and $27MM left on his contract before free agency.
Five days away from his 27th birthday, Greinke would instantly become the best available starter on the trade market this offseason and the second best available pitcher overall behind free agent-to-be Cliff Lee. The 2009 Cy Young Award winner posted a 4.17 ERA in 2010, but his peripherals were still excellent (7.4 K/9, 2.3 BB/9) and his fastball was as lively as ever. The high ERA is the result of a 65.3% left-on-base rate, well below the 72.2% league average. Kansas City's porous defense (-44.5 UZR, third worst in MLB) had a hand in that.
Olney notes that because Greinke is under contract for two more years, they don't have to trade him just yet. They could wait until the deadline or next offseason to get the offer they want, and there's always the possibility of an extension assuming Greinke likes what he sees as far as the rebuilding process. He sounded pessimistic about those efforts back in August, though.
Greinke does have a limited no-trade clause in his contract for this season according to Cot's, though the extent of his veto power is unknown.