It still seems like a Plan B, but according to Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan, Royals ace Zack Greinke is not necessarily opposed to pitching in New York.
Greinke has a no-trade clause that could block a trade to the Yankees, but so did Lance Berkman, and Berkman still wound up in pinstripes. Speculation has been heavy that Greinke would block a trade to New York out of a desire to stay out of the spotlight, but Passan’s source suggests that’s not a significant issue.
“I wouldn’t put it past him to go to New York,” the source said. “I don’t think he’d rule out anybody. He says he likes New York. Especially because they’re winners. He wants to go to a team that wins.”
Greinke’s past anxiety issues have caused many to question his ability to perform in New York, and those might be the source of questions about his willingness to accept a trade to the Yankees. But the fact is, he’s one of the few viable Cliff Lee alternatives that might be available should Lee sign with a team other than the Yankees.
The free agent market doesn’t offer another front-line starter, and it’s becoming rare for a pitching talent like Greinke to hit the trade market. Acquiring him would cost a ton in Yankees prospects — Passan suggests a package similar to what the Rangers got for Mark Teixeira back in 2007 — but as a fallback plan, Greinke seems as legitimate as any.
Lee will naturally remain the primarily pitching target, but a Greinke contingency plan might not be as far off the table as originally believed.