Zack Greinke opened his mouth last week and set Kansas City on fire.
The Royals’ ace pitcher, who also happens to be the current face of the franchise, told the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton that he probably won’t be around to see the team’s current youth movement take root.
“There’s no reason for me to get real excited” about the team’s hot prospects, Greinke told Dutton, “because the chance of more than one of them making a major impact by the time my contract is up is pretty slim.”
First, let us acknowledge that there is some truth to what Greinke told the Star reporter. It is doubtful the Royals will field a winning team by 2012. A couple weeks ago in a post on this Web site, I said it’s great to be a Royals fan right now (obviously Zack doesn’t agree). I argued that even though the Major League team is bad right now, good or even great players were waiting in the wings. My article was probably overly optimistic. But even still, I argued that the Royals would probably be ready to compete in 2013 at the earliest.
So Zack is right about that.
He is also right that the Royals have attempted other rebuilding efforts during his time in Kansas City, and as he puts it, “obviously, none of them worked.”
I’ll give him that.
But he still should not have said it.
And here are a few reasons why.
One, players do not do that. They just don’t. They shut up and they play ball.
Second, let’s be honest here, Zack Greinke owes a lot to this organization. He owes his whole career to the Kansas City Royals. Remember 2006, when it wasn’t so great to be a Royals fan? Before the season started, our hottest prospect, 22-year-old Zack Greinke, walked away from baseball. He walked away to sort out some personal demons he was battling, and continues to battle to this day. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. Life comes before baseball, ten times out of ten. But then, two months later, he came back. What did the Royals do? They welcomed him back with open arms. They gave him a spot on the team. He performed well and they gave him a huge contract. And in exchange for millions and millions and millions of dollars, all the Royals ask is that Greinke goes and plays catch with Jason Kendall once every five days.
(Of course, that’s oversimplified, but you get the point.)
Finally, there’s a fairness issue here. On another Royals blog this weekend, I read an interesting comment to one of the posts about Greinke. The commenter pointed out that during his three-year career with Kansas City, Jose Guillen said things like Greinke said. He used harsher words, perhaps, but the point was still the same.
What did Royals fans do? They made Jose Guillen Public Enemy No. 1.
What do they do when Greinke makes similar comments? His words become a rally cry.
So where does that leave us? I’m not sure. But I think the Kansas City Royals should do exactly what their ace pitcher asks. They should go out and get some players to help them win in the immediate future.
How should they do that?
By trading Zack Greinke.
Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and the content editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.