Original post from North Dakota Twins Fan
The Twins didn't put up much of a fight on Sunday afternoon and their four game winning streak came to an abrupt end at the hands of the Brewers. When the starting pitcher doesn't make it out of the second inning in a game following an extra-inning affair, it is going to be tough for a team to find success. The Twins offense did score the first run of the game and they were able to put some runs on the board in their last at-bat but the innings in between were ugly.
While the front office of the Twins might have been cringing when Twins pitchers were on the mound, their eyes should have been clearly fixed on the starting pitcher for the Brewers in this game. Zack Greinke had been a standout pitcher in the AL Central for multiple seasons with the Royals so the Twins are well aware of his outstanding ability on the mound. On Sunday, Greinke was given a big lead and he knew what to do with it by pitching into the seventh inning and allowing a single earned run to cross the plate.
When the 2012 season comes to an end, Greinke will hit the open market as one of the most sought after free agent pitchers. He will turn 29-years old during the offseason and many teams will be lining up at his door to inquire about what it will take for him to sign with their club. According to sources, there have been no recent talks between the Brewers and Greinke.
It sounds like the Brewers would like to resign their ace but money could be a big factor
for a team playing in one of the smallest markets in baseball.
Most projections of Greinke's value as a free agent have him getting upwards of $100 million when he signs on the dotted line this offseason. The San Francisco Giants recently signed Matt Cain to the largest contract in history for a right-handed pitcher. The six-year deal was for $127.5 million with $112.5 million being guaranteed and it will keep Cain in San Francisco through the prime of his career. Since Greinke is only a year older than Cain, Greinke's deal could be structured very similar to the Cain deal and that would put the Brewers out of the running to keep Greinke around.
If the Brewers are out of the running, this leaves other teams with the opportunity to swoop in and add Greinke to their starting rotation. The Twins should be one of the team's taking a hard look at bringing Greinke into the fold for the 2013 season. Coaches, fans, and the front office have been frustrated with the performance of many of the pitchers that have been in the starting rotation for the Twins this year. Jason Marquis and Francisco Liriano have been disasters, Carl Pavano has been forced to pitch through some pain in his shoulder, and Nick Blackburn has been very underwhelming when he has been able to pitch.
Lucky enough for the Twins most of the starting staff will be free agents at season's end. This means the team can do a complete overhaul of their rotation for the start of next year. The extra money freed up by letting these players go could also allow the Twins to go after a free agent starting pitcher like Zack Greinke. Liriano makes $5.5 million, Pavano earns $9.0 million, and Marquis signed this past offseason for $3.0 million. If you add all of those up with the $6.5 million lost on Scott Baker this year, the Twins will have quite the chunk of change to spend on pitching for 2013.
In the past, Greinke has battled with some issues surrounding anxiety and he was even forced to leave the Royals for a short time to try and figure out a solution to these problems. This battle with stressed related issues has allowed writers to predict that Greinke might like to stay away from some of the major markets in baseball. His issues with anxiety might only be compounded if he were to sign and play in New York or Los Angeles. This could give the Twins a better opportunity to sign Greinke because he has pitched his entire career in the Midwest and he is already familiar with the AL Central.
Since Johan Santana was traded away before the 2008 season, the Twins have been searching for an ace of their staff. Greinke could be that player but a big time contract for a starting pitcher always comes with some risk. In this case, I think the risk is worth taking and the Twins should go all in to sign Greinke for the foreseeable future.