This has been my favorite topic for about 3 years. I can't imagine Greinke starting the season as a Royal, and Newberg nicely runs down the many reasons why.
I'm sure this has come up in a number of different threads, and alot of mock trade proposals have been posted, but let's pool them all under this fanpost for now. To me, the question is whether Greinke will cost 1 or 2 of the top pitching prospects, which are Holland, Scheppers, and Perez. Newberg seems to think it will cost 2 in his report today (11/17):
How would you feel about: (1) Derek Holland; (2) Martin Perez; and (3-4) either Jurickson Profar and Craig Gentry, or Leury Garcia and Engel Beltre, for Greinke and out-of-options backup outfielder Gregor Blanco?
The latest from Moore (via Stark) on what it would take is
Well, they're serious about listening. But according to clubs that have spoken with them, they're telling bidders up front that (A) they would need to "win" the deal, (B) they would have to get the kind of four-for-one haul the Rangers got for Mark Teixeira to pull the trigger, (C) they need a bunch of "front-line, winning, quality players" in return, and (D) at least one of those players has to be a pitcher capable of turning into the next Zack Greinke in a couple of years. So unless a team like Texas were to lose Cliff Lee and decide it needs to trade for Greinke at all costs, we're betting this doesn't happen -- not this winter, anyway.
An example of a "winning-type" player in Moore's view: Jeff Francoeur.
So, the next Greinke... Will that be Perez, Holland, or Scheppers? And, aside from those three, what other players would Moore view as "winning players"? Engel Beltre?
I like Jamey's idea of offering something that complements the core they have on the way for 2012. I think 2 of the 3 top pitching prospects is too much to absorb. My sense is that much of the baseball world sees Scheppers as a bigger risk than perhaps the Rangers do.
But, the Rangers have to make this trade. They have 3-4 years of Hamilton, Cruz, Kinsler, Murphy at their peak. It's not clear whether there exists a core of positional players within the organization upon which a reasonable hope can be placed to extend the window (Moreland, Davis, Beltre seem to be the internal options, but many, many questions abound with those three). If they bring in Victor Martinez, he certainly isn't going to extend that window beyond 3-4 years. It's time to go for broke and hope that 3-4 year period produces 2-4 more World Series trips.
The biggest package I could imagine would be: Perez or Holland. Beltre or Borbon. Hunter. an advanced lower-level pitcher (Ross, Erlin, Font, Wieland). a low-level middle infielder or 3B, excluding Olt and Profar (Leury, Edwin Garcia, Villanueva, Chirino, Mendonca, ).
A Holland-Beltre-Hunter lead would give the Royals a little of everything -- the potential for the next Greinke (Holland might not be a Cy Young but he could grow into a staff leader), an immediate rotation contributor in Hunter, and a complementary piece to add to their core at AA. Beltre, in that deal, might be the biggest loss as he could help extend that window of a stout offense beyond 3-4 years, and the Rangers are thin on that type of player.
How do the Rangers keep Hamilton healthy if the Royals want Borbon rather than Beltre? Please, God, make Gentry into something more than he is! Melky is about the best the FA market has to offer, which could be a bridge to the Engel Era if he can be signed to a one-year deal with an option year.
So, does Holland-Beltre-Hunter-Wieland-Villanueva get it done? That package really only contains two WOW pieces. It's better than the Blue Jays got for Halladay. It's comparable if not better than the Teixeira trade, which basically had Salts-Harrison with Elvis-Feliz as highly talented but far away pieces. Holland+Hunter > Salts+Harrison. So, yeah, the prime players are better and the secondary players are not as a stellar, and I think it's a better package
Is Holland-Beltre-Hunter-Wieland-Villanueva too much? Well, Hunter is replaceable from within, very likely. Greinke takes Holland's spot. Beltre is harder to replace as discussed above. Wieland and Villanueva, I like them and all, but over the next 2-4 years the Rangers will sign similarly talented players. So, I think the Rangers can absorb this package this year as well as beyond. Again, Beltre is the one that bothers me most in that deal.
I hope it doesn't take Holland-Beltre-Hunter-Wieland-Villanueva to get Greinke, but I think the Rangers could do that. If we're lucky it's something like Holland-Hunter-Stoneburner-Wieland or Perez-Beltre-Wieland-Erlin (which, IMO, is better than the Roy Halladay package). What about Newberg's package, meaning the discussion of 2 versus 1 of the top 3 pitching prospects? Is it easier to absorb the loss of Holland-Perez versus Holland-Beltre or Perez-Holland versus Perez-Beltre? Though I see Beltre as the hardest piece to let go in my proposal, I still prefer trading him to Perez. Keep the pitching pipeline as full as possible, and use it to bring in more Engel Beltre's.
Would I support Newberg's package if it happened. Oh yeah, but put me down for Holland-Beltre-Hunter-Wieland as what I hope gets it done. I'd much rather the Rangers give up the potential for one front-end rotation and two back-end rotation guys rather than two front-end rotation guys.