Though Kansas City starter Zack Greinke(notes) has a no-trade clause in his contract that includes the Yankees and other big-market teams, a source close to the right-hander suggested he would happily pitch anywhere that would provide a winning team.
"I wouldn't put it past him to go to New York," the source said. "I don't think he'd rule out anybody. He says he likes New York. Especially because they're winners. He wants to go to a team that wins.
"He's got a list, but in the process, a lot of people have lists."
The source suggested Greinke's preference for a no-trade clause had nothing to do with his feelings about pitching in a large market, as many have interpreted because of his earlier battles with anxiety issues. Instead, no-trade clauses often give a player leverage to negotiate a new contract, something that Greinke could utilize were the Royals to engage with one of the teams on his list.
Foxsports.com reported that Greinke can submit 15 teams this season to which he could block a trade and that his no-trade privileges expire after this season. Greinke's salary jumps to $13.5 million in 2011 and 2012, the last two seasons of a four-year extension he signed before he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.
Because of the no-trade clause, Greinke has been linked exclusively with teams that operate in mild media markets similar to Kansas City's – namely the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins. The Royals have continued to talk about Greinke with the Yankees, according to a source, knowing that the no-trade clause isn't the impediment it's been made out to be.
Kansas City's options with Greinke are plentiful. They could try to maximize his value by trading him before the season or hope it improves by the All-Star break with a return to 2009 form after he posted a 4.07 ERA last season. They could keep him around for another season and hope the wave of minor league talent – the Royals' farm system is recognized by scouts and talent evaluators as the best in baseball by a significant margin – convinces him to re-sign. Or they could make a run at the AL Central title with Greinke and the youth in 2012.
Big money abounding?
Following Juan Uribe(notes) fetching a three-year, $21 million Monday from the Dodgers, one personnel man mused that Scott Boras' asking price for third baseman Adrian Beltre(notes) – a five-year, $90 million deal – didn't seem nearly as ridiculous.
"Scott doesn't deal in the market," the executive said. "He deals in what his players are worth. If Juan Uribe is worth $7 million a year, should Adrian Beltre not be worth $18 million a year?"
The rest of the market isn't getting any cheaper, either. Adam Dunn's(notes) agent, Greg Genske, has let interested teams know that the bidding for the left-handed slugger will start at four years for $60 million. The market on Dunn cratered two years ago, and he ended up going to Washington on a two-year, $20 million deal.
One executive interested in Lance Berkman(notes) expects that it will take a one-year, $7 million deal to sign him, which is around the market rate for a mid-30s designated hitter with a long-standing pedigree. Berkman has drawn significant interest as a DH, a position he's loath to accept full time.
Berkman visited with Oakland Athletics executives Tuesday, and the A’s could have the inside track for reasons beyond their need for pop and willingness to spend. A's director of player personnel Billy Owens roomed with Berkman in the minor leagues.
Iwakuma, A's still negotiating
The A's continue to pursue right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma even after his agent, Don Nomura, unleashed a vitriolic torrent toward the team on Twitter after it was reported that Iwakuma was seeking Barry Zito(notes)-type money to play in the major leagues.
Oakland won the rights to negotiate with Iwakuma after paying a posting fee in excess of $19 million. The A's then offered a four-year, $15.25 million deal, according to a Nomura tweet. Nomura added that he is seeking $9 million a year for the 29-year-old Iwakuma, regarded as the second-best starter in Japan behind Yu Darvish.