With the trade winds blowing and his name prominently mentioned, Milwaukee Brewers ace Zack Greinke will be taking a break from pitching. The Brewers announced in a tweet on Monday that Greinke won't make his next scheduled start on Wednesday. GM Doug Melvin later told Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that Greinke is OK physically, he just needs to be "recharging his batteries" right now.
Greinke isn't slated to start in Milwaukee's next series, either. As a result, neither the Cardinals nor Reds will see Greinke this week. The Brewers are 42-46 and eight games out of first place in the NL Central after taking two of three in a weekend series against the first-place Pirates.
Around the same time the Brewers announced Greinke's rest, Jon Heyman of CBS said the White Sox are among those interested in trading for Greinke. The White Sox have been missing pitchers Jon Danks and Philip Humber, though Humber is about to return and Danks got some good news on his sore shoulder Monday. Regardless, a healthy Greinke (or someone like him) would be an enormous upgrade for the surprising leaders of the AL Central.
Greinke, though, has allowed 14 earned and 20 hits over his past 14 innings. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports says his velocity has been down. But his troubles might be more complicated. Here's what reporter Tom Hardricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote Monday afternoon after communicating with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke:
UPDATE: I JUST EXCHANGED TEST MESSAGES WITH ROENICKE AND HE SAID HE WILL HAVE MORE DETAILS LATER BUT SAID "WE JUST WANT TO GET (GREINKE) BACK IN HIS ROUTINE."
Greinke is a very routine-oriented player, maybe more so than most.
Greinke started the Saturday before the break but was ejected after four pitches in Houston, so he started the next day. He went three innings in that game, struggling in the first inning and throwing 66 pitches overall.
Greinke started again Friday in the first game out of the break against Pittsburgh and struggled, allowing seven hits and six runs (five earned) in five innings.
Love the ALL CAPS UPDATE. Assuming no trade is imminent and this isn't a stall, Greinke being "OK physically" while "recharging his batteries" still raises a red flag. So, Greinke is fatigued: Is it physical or mental? Either way, it raises more questions: How much value will he have on the trade market? Going further, who is going to bet $100 million-plus on him during free agency this winter?
This could be why the White Sox have become players. The only way they probably can afford Greinke is at a discount. A lot of the talent in their farm system is either pitching in the majors right now, or simply not equal to what other suitors could offer.