The Royals, while not exactly out of the race, find themselves struggling to play .400 ball. The good news, I suppose, is that the division is really down this year and despite the horrid play of late the Royals are still only 7.5 games behind the White Sox. The problem is this team lacks offense in a big way and there isn't much (if any) help in Omaha or Arkansas.
First lets look at the sorry state of the Royals AAA and AA teams and see what is going on that would require such a drastic move. Starting in Omaha most of the teams offense is coming from Royals retreads, such as Shane Costa, Angel Berroa, Jason Smith, and Ryan Shealy; that group accounts for 60% of the teams home runs and 48% of the teams RBI (not counting Aviles' numbers who is now on the Royals roster).
Also sitting in Omaha are former 1st round picks Mitch Maier, Chris Lubanski, and newly demoted Billy Butler. Butler will rejoin the Royals soon and Maier could be a useful bench player; as for Lubanski the jury is still out, he certainly isn't knocking down the door for a call-up.
Things in Arkansas are even worse as there are perhaps only two players who might be considered prospects at this point. Kila Kaaihue has been solid and Brian McFall is holding his own. This duo accounts for exactly 50% of the teams total home runs and the team is in the bottom third in AVG/OBP/SLG.
Without much coming up from the pipeline it then becomes a possibility that trading Greinke could be good for the future of this team. The question then becomes what could the Royals hope to get in return for their ace. As comparison I'm going to look at what teams got for their front of the line starters the past couple of years and see if that sort of return could be expected.
Johan Santana to the Mets
Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra to the Twins.
-The Mets gave up their 3-6th best prospects to land perhaps the best pitcher in baseball. Is Greinke comparable to Santana? He is this year and he is younger and far cheaper.
Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan to the Rays
Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie to the Twins
-Matt Garza certainly isn't the pitcher Greinke is but he did net the Twins a former 1st overall pick back in Young.
Dan Haran and Conner Robertson to the Diamondbacks
Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland ,Greg Smith, Chris Carter, Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez.
-Eveland and Smith are in the rotation and pitching well and Gonzalez, Carter, Cunningham and Anderson are in the A's top 10 prospects list.
Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota to the Red Sox
Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia to the Marlins.
-This trade worked well for both teams, Ramirez is perhaps the best shortstop in baseball and Sanchez has already tossed a no-hitter.
As you can see there is some incentive for a rebuilding (yes,I said it) team to trade away a star pitcher for prospects but it isn't without danger, after all they are just prospects. Dayton Moore would have to find a team that is in win mode now and would be willing to part with several of their top prospects, so which teams are candidates?
New York Yankees: The Yankees are 20th in baseball in team ERA and find themselves in 4th place in the East. Brian Cashman has put more emphasis on keeping the farm system together, does Hank Steinbrenner step in and push for a trade?
1.Joba Chamberlain, rhp
2.Austin Jackson, of
3.Jose Tabata, of
4.Ian Kennedy, rhp
5.Alan Horne, rhp
6.Jesus Montero, c
7.Jeff Marquez, rhp
8.Brett Gardner, of
9.Ross Ohlendorf, rhp
10.Andrew Brackman, rhp
Texas Rangers: The Rangers have stockpiled talent over the past couple of years and now find themselves only 5 games back of the division leading Angels. Do they make a trade to bolster their 28th ranked pitching?
1.Elvis Andruz, ss
2.Chris Davis, 3b
3.Eric Hurley, rhp
4.Taylor Teagarden, c
5.Neftali Feliz, rhp
6.Michael Main, rhp
7.Kasey Kiker, lhp
8.Blake Beavan, rhp
9.Julio Borbon, of
10.Engel Beltre, of
Cincinnati Reds: The Reds are in a distant 4th in the NL Central but have the talent to compete with some help to their 23rd ranked pitching. Problem for the reds is Dunn is a free agent and their best talent is very young. Do they try to win now or continue to build through the system?
1.Jay Bruce, of
2.Homer Bailey, rhp
3.Joey Votto, 1b/of
4.Johnny Cueto, rhp
5.Drew Stubbs, of
6.Devin Mesoraco, c
7.Todd Frazier, ss
8.Juan Francisco, 3b
9.Josh Roenicke, rhp
10.Matt Maloney, lhp