Zack Greinke is not most ballplayers. I think we’ve figured
this out by now, but sometimes how…different he is really strikes me.
Greinke told Bob Dutton in this KC Star story that signing a long-term deal with the Royals before now would have been a waste of his time. “…there was no way I was going to waste my time when we’re not going to try to put a real team on the field,” he said. “I’m not going to promote something like that.”
Who else would ever say that? Most players in his position
would probably just say “It wasn’t right for me at the time, but I feel good
about the commitment now” if a reporter asked why a long-term deal wasn’t
Sometimes* I feel like getting a press pass to talk to athletes isn’t the greatest way to get at the best and most informative articles, because most of the time, it ends up like this. So to hear an athlete produce some actual, honest quotes is pretty nice.
*Note: this is not a knock on athletes, professional or otherwise. I’d probably just spit out the usual cliches too if some snot reporter stuck a tape recorder in my face every day asking the same questions.
And, Zack was absolutely right. The product on the field in 2004 was terrible. Who would want to get on board with a team like that for any more time than was necessary?
One stat that shows just how bad that offense was, for example, is that nobody slugged higher than Joe Randa’s .408 SLG. Oh goodness, now I can’t help but find more reasons to wish that season had never happened: Matt Stairs’ 49 walks was good for the team lead, no pitcher won more than 9 games, Darrell May led the team in just about everything – my apologies to Mr. May, but that does say a lot about the team as a whole. Among regular pitchers, nobody had an ERA+ above 85 (remember that 100 is average).
Wow, that got away from me. But the point is pretty obvious that that was a terrible team, and I can hardly blame Greinke for not wanting to commit long-term to that. Luckily for all of us, the Royals right now are not those Royals, and Zack is ours for 4 years.
Planet Zack got a little roughed up today in another rather messy game. Much as we all love him, it’s good to remember that he does tend to give up the long ball, so the 2 homers he gave up this afternoon shouldn’t really be a surprise. I’m not too worried. (He gave up .93 homers per 9 innings last season, and is projected to give up about 1 per 9 this year. His HR/9 rate in 2008 was good for about 40th in the Majors among pitchers with at least 150 innings.)
Greinke got hit on the hip by a line drive, but came back into the game. I’ll be curious to see if that bothers him at all in the next few days. Here’s today’s box, if you missed it.