This is a difficult trade to analyze for a number of reasons:
- There is a not insignificant disparity within the game about how good Greinke is.
- Because of Greinke's history, everyone's got their own arm-chair psycho-analytical theory regarding why he "slipped" in 2010 (umm, maybe because he was just incredibly good in 2009 and that's it), where he would or would not like to pitch, his attitude towards the Royals etc. And it's not like that garbage is rare to begin with. The thing is though, with Greinke, there was clearly a lot of that chatter inside the industry.
- To me, and we can argue this out if you'd like, it really looks like the Royals reacted quickly, and possibly overly emotionally, to the news that came out late last week that Greinke wanted out. I don't want to fully discount, that to a degree, you probably need to react quickly if a situation truly becomes, as we say in the pitiful language of our time, "toxic." However, it's also December. There's no locker-room dynamic to break up, no long flights, no trips to Detroit when nobody cares, etc. This was a February move... in December.
Essentially, all three of these ambiguities are value eroders on the trade market. I'll go to my grave (well, probably not) thinking that the Royals could have gotten more if they'd simply waited, but maybe that isn't the case. Were the Yankees really serious that they believed he wasn't capable of handling New York? Would ZG have never gone? I certainly don't know.
Really though, when do three quarters for a dollar trades ever work out? I'd almost have rather had Dayton get one prospect back that he truly loved, and we could go from there. Certainly, conceptually, it'd be much easier to process. Nevertheless, we know that baseball is truly a sport that rewards roster depth, unlike, say, basketball, where the issue is considerably murkier.
What I absolutely hate about this trade is that Moore truly appears to have shopped according to a particular goal concerning certain positions. This is, and I'll have to watch myself here, a deeply flawed approach. It assumes way too much about the shape of the future to come and it limits the package coming back. When Allard Baird was doing that back in the early 2000s, it just seemed misguided and amateurish: the Royals are terrible pretty much everywhere, get the best player possible and figure out the 25 man roster later. With this move, and Dayton's much-hyped best system ever, ever, of all time, in any sport (I think that's a Kevin Goldstein quote, who somewhat predictably actually likes this trade and is also a Greinke doubter) it comes across as a move reflecting arrogance. But hey, a guy has to believe.
Perhaps though, one of these fringy top-10 Brewers prospects are million-petaled flowers waiting to bloom, with beauties only visible to the tool-seeing eye. We shall find out.