Details surrounding contract extensions are always a little shady around the trade deadline, and rightfully so.
No one really wants to tip their hand in terms of contract details before everything’s said and done, especially if you could be looking at an even bigger contract in the off-season.
So when John Heyman of CBS Sports leaked a report that the Milwaukee Brewers offered a contract extension to pitcher Zack Greinke – somewhere in the neighborhood of five years and well north of $100 Million – everyone started to jump on the news.
Except that no one would actually bite on the story – including Greinke and Melvin.
Greinke and Melvin have had on-again, off-again discussions surrounding his contract since the beginning of Spring Training. When the Giants shored up Matt Cain’s extension for five years and $112.5 million, Greinke was discussing the terms of his contract sans agent. It seemed like a really good sign that a deal would get done, but before the ink even dried on the San Fran starter’s new deal, Greinke affiliated himself with agent Casey Close, and the contract talks fell to the wayside.
Thus began the months-long discussion in the media and the bleachers of how long Greinke would be on the bump for the Brewers. With free agency looming and the team middling in the NL Central, it appeared only natural to sell of the former AL Cy Young winner in hopes for immediate talent and restocking the farm system.
But that has changed in recent weeks, as Greinke’s superstar performances waned slightly (though not much – he’s still 9-3 with a 3.57 ERA and is one of the NL’s leaders in strikeouts with 117) in July and the Brewers have been using him in the rotation not as trade bait, but as a dedicated member of a team trying to make the postseason. Add that to the fact that Doug Melvin has repeatedly said that he’s not receiving many calls about anyone recently and the apparent drop in interest in starting pitchers on the open market, and you have a strange situation on your hands. Why wouldn’t anyone want Zack Greinke on their team?
Heyman may have given us the answer, when he reported that the contract offer was probably extended early last week.
If that’s true, then Brewers GM Doug Melvin – the sly dog that he is – has been putting all of us on for the last month or so when he said there was no discussion of a deal in the works with Greinke. As for Zack himself, well, he was probably in cahoots with Melvin for the entire ruse.
This whole situation, to be blunt, is extremely common. High-level players will almost always choose to test the open market before trying to ink a deal with their current team – it’s just good business sense. It’s possible that Greinke found he couldn’t get the sort of long-term deal he was looking for elsewhere, and decided it better to see what the Brew Crew could offer him. It’s equally possible that he’s still testing the waters, and the offer extended by the Brewers just sets a high watermark for other teams to compete with. Nobody really knows what’s happening except for Melvin, Greinke, and his agent – and they ain’t talking.
Greinke confirmed that an extension had been offered, according to Adam McCalvy, but that’s about all
"“I just gave you that one thing. I figured that was as good as I could do.”–Zack Greinke, via Brewers.com"
Doug Melvin was even more sheepish when the media asked him to confirm the reports:
"“Don’t have to.”Brewers GM Doug Melvin, via"
I guess the important thing is that the two sides are back at the negotiating table, maybe. And an offer has been extended to one of the most efficient and talented pitchers in the Majors, we think. What comes next is going to be very interesting.