According to tweets tonight from Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, former Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke rejected the Nationals trade offer earlier this winter despite Washington offering a lucrative extension. Heyman Tweets:
“Word is, #nationals offered Greinke big extension to entice him to come. He still rejected them, then accepted #brewers…reason Greinke wouldn’t go to #Nats is he didn’t believe they could win. It was never about the money for him.”
Heyman doesn’t list his source in these tweets, although I don’t doubt the accuracy of his statements. For the Nationals it is one more slap in the face from a potential player, refusing to come to Washington due to a disbelief in the clubs plan to put together a winning ball club. Perhaps the biggest slight in all of this is that the team he did accept a trade to, the Brewers, did not give Greinke any extension.
Of course, it is always easy to blame a player for making the baseball decision instead of the greedy one when it doesn’t benefit you. All to often we expect players to make the decision that will put them in a best situation to win, instead of the one that will pad their pockets more. In this one situation, Washingtonians had hoped Greinke would be greedy, but he did what he felt was best for him.
While the Brewers are far from a post-season lock, they are far more prepared to compete in 2011 than the Nationals could possibly be, even if the club had been able to add Greinke. Yes, they will have to compete with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds for the Division and the Wild Card, but with a rotation that will now be one of the top ten in baseball and with a lineup of young sluggers, Greinke has put himself in a good situation.
This is the problem though with the hole the Nationals have put themselves in over the past few seasons. It wasn’t until this winter that the club was willing to spend to win and the lost Bowden years left the Nationals years behind other cellar dwellers like the Brewers. As a result, the club has broadcasted a very negative stigma over the past several years which has no doubt come back to bite them this winter.
The good news is that things can only get better. The Nationals will get stronger with their young talent and will start to become more and more attractive to incoming players. Still, this one stings.