Okay so I was ALL IN on the White Sox trying to land Grienke. I assumed because he’s a 35 year old pitcher due $70+MM over the next 2 years with a LOT of deferrals after his contract expires, that it wouldn’t take too much to acquire him. That, and with the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers all over the lux tax or close to it, I figured they wouldn’t want to fuck with his contract, as it’s massive in terms of AAV. Teams are using the CBT line as an ipso facto salary cap, even the richest ones. That’s a reason you didn’t see any of the traditional big spenders in on Harper or Machado last winter.
Grienke also has a 15 team no trade clause in his contract. Those teams include the Orioles, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, Twins, Yankees, Athletics, Phillies, Padres, Giants, Cardinals and Blue Jays.
But for whatever reason, I didn’t bother ever looking at the Astros as a possible landing spot for him. Why? I have no idea. But truth be told, it’s a perfect fit, especially when Cole and Miley could very well be out the door next year. They are at about $170MM in payroll this year and with the ~$6.8MM Houston will pay him this year, they still aren’t close to any tax overages.
But where I was pretty goddamn wrong was what Arizona ended up netting in terms of prospect capital by dealing Grienke. They got three highly thought pieces and a nice flyer. Let’s talk about ceilings/floors of each:
1. Seth Beer: Mashes baseballs, awful defensively. Best case future stud DH, worst case platoon DH
2. Martin Corbin: hurt, but big time K guy. Best case middle rotation starter, worst high leverage reliever
3. JB Bukaskas: best case backend starter, worst case solid middle reliever
4. Josh Rojas: no idea but he’s putting together a REALLY nice year in AAA as a 25 year old
5. $24MM in cash
That’s a haul. A haul that the White Sox would have been stupid to try and match and frankly, I don’t think they could have. So… yeah. I was wrong. Way wrong.
So now the Astros have a rotation I see exactly zero teams in the American League beating in any series. Don’t care if it’s 5 or 7 games. It’s nasty. The two best teams in the AL record wise are the Astros and Yankees right now. This is how a potential playoff series between the two would match up:
GM 1: Cole/Verlander vs. Tanaka? CC?
GM 2: Cole/Verlander vs. German? Tanaka? CC?
GM 3: Grienke vs. Paxton? CC?
CC is hurt anyways. Not sure how badly but he’s on the IL. Paxton stinks. German is young and could be on an innings limit. And offensively Voit is on the IL, Lemaheiu is hobbling and Stanton hasn’t hardly played this year. BRUTAL year for injuries in the Bronx.
The *only* team I see that can maybe match up with them right now are the Twins, and that is if their bats are on fire in whatever series they meet. But good pitching typically gets the better of good hitting. And it’d be Cole/Verlander/Grienke vs. Berrios (stud)/Gibson/Odorizzi/Pineda. The Astros could/should theoretically tee off on Twins’ starters.
Shoutout to Jeff Luhnow. I still theorize that the Astros are cheating scumbags, but this dude has built a juggernaut the last few years.