The Royals are actively shopping Zack Greinke, as noted on the first day of the Winter Meetings, and Greinke has agreed to waive his no-trade clause in a prospective deal. But, of course, all of this was academic as far as the Cubs were concerned, because surely they weren’t looking at Greinke. I mean, he’s under reasonable control for two more years ($13.5 million each year), but even that’s out of the Cubs’ range this year. Right?

Er, maybe not. The Cubs have called the Royals about Greinke according to¬†Jon Heyman and I’ve heard that, although talks haven’t gotten that far yet, the Cubs do have players that intrigue the Royals.

Greinke, 27, is just one year removed from an all-universe season in 2009, when he won the AL Cy Young. His 2010 was a bit of a letdown (4.17 ERA in 220 innings (but a nice 1.245 WHIP)), but most expect him to return to something in between the two in 2011.

Between Greinke and Matt Garza, the Cubs are now connected to two legitimately exciting young pitchers. Both are remote possibilities, to be sure, but it’s certainly more exciting than being connected to Aaron Harang or Vicente Padilla.

  • KB

    Acer, spill the beans…who are the players that the Royals are interested in?

    BTW, why does everyone hate Harang? (Oh, cuz he’s sucked for 3 straight years).
    But wasn’t he injured, or something?

    • Ace

      I’m not certain. They want pitching prospect(s) and middle infield/center field prospect(s). The Cubs have those in spades, but they’re the team’s best prospects.

  • droc2822

    Zack Greinke is the only pitcher that i would be willing to give up H. Lee, and T. McNutt for maybe not C. Archer and Jackson but a package of Vitters, HLee, T. McNutt and Jay Jackson could possible swing a deal for Greinke. Your not going to find many Cy young caliber pitchers available and he is that.

  • KB

    …but a package of Vitters, HLee, T. McNutt and Jay Jackson could possible swing a deal for Greinke. (?!)

    I’m not even sure that I like that deal. I think the Royals would jump on it, or should.
    They’re about the dumbest franchise in MLB; why can’t Jimbo talk them into some low-OBP guy?

    Oh yeah, cuz Jim worships them too.

    • Ace

      Ew – that deal blows. Way too much to give up.

      • Jeff

        I would make that deal in a heartbeat. HLee has the potential to be a good if not great defensive SS, but I think the ceiling isn’t nearly as high on vitters or jay jackson as it looked even last offseason. We have some great prospects in the system, but nobody wins a championship with just prospects. The Cubs have gambled on free agents and failed, the trade route seems too obvious to ignore if they want to build a real winner.

    • droc2822

      How many times have we have been fooled by Cubs Prospects lets see. Corey Patterson, Felix Pie and Shark prospects are just that prospects unproven who could amount to something. In Greinke you get a proven ace front of the rotation pitcher. You still keep are two best guys who will be ready 2012. You would have Z, Greinke, Demp, Archer in your rotation looks good to me

      • Ace

        And dollars are just pieces of paper.

        The point is: prospects have value, even if they never perform as Cubs. Sure, trade them. But there’s no reason not to be judicious about it. It’s just like money: don’t spend more in prospects than you have to.

        • droc2822

          So Mr. Ace what prospects would you be willing to surrender for a proven ACE?

          • BT

            My guess is that you would have gladly given up Starlin Castro and a bunch of other guys for Jake Peavy last year. How would that have worked out?

            Just because some prospects flame out doesn’t mean ALL prospects flame out.

          • Jeff

            I think Greinke could be one of the most dominating pitchers in the national league and if he is over his depression problem, would be worth any 3 or 4 prospects the Royals ask for, McNutt and Brett Jackson included.

            • Ace

              Trading Jackson, McNutt and Archer for Greinke would be a fireable offense. Given Greinke’s salary, mental issues, and sometimes erratic performance, the Cubs should, at most, be willing to part with one of their big four (McNutt, Archer, B. Jackson, Lee), and then two or more of the next tier (Vitters, Carpenter, J. Jackson, Ha, Lake, Dolis, Lopez, etc.).

    • Serio

      For all that you should get the whole Royals organization

      • Serio

        You know its funny im ready for the cubs to go young. Havent really seen it, but 10mildo to Pena is just crazy i get nuts thinking about it. Seriously $10MM for 1year. Yeah no

        • NUwildcat2007

          he is getting paid 5 million this season, and then will get paid 5 million next year. Also, Pena is making 10 million as a tradeoff for taking a 1 year deal. I am sure he could have gotten 14 for 2 years or 20 for 3.

  • art

    I say why settle for one, go for both Greinke and Garza. back load the contracts. most of the time a team will ask for the moon and accept less. think big and if we only get one, fine.

  • pfk

    Ahhh, the life of being a Cubs fan: watching Boston get Gonzales, sign Crawford and not being done reloading for another push – even though they had one of the best records in baseball last year. And here are the Cubs, making a big deal of signing Pena – he of the .196 average – retaining Hill and Baker. Ouch! Boy does it hurt to watch this. As a Cubs fan, I go forward thinking someday others will watch the Cubs wheel and deal and bemoan the fact they wish they could be like the Cubs. I’ve been waiting 50 years. Somebody please tell me it will happen. Please. Lie to me.

    • Ace

      I’d be one pissed off Cub fan if they handed out that Crawford contract.

      • Jeff

        If they weren’t so loaded with bad contracts and had such a bad history with the “big splash” free agents, I would at least consider giving Crawford that money. Left handed, top of the order, great glove, huge threat on the base paths, high on base percentage, low strikeouts, he excels at a lot of the things the Cubs are bad at, but that is way too much money for someone not named Pujols.