The Milwaukee Brewers made a big splash yesterday, acquiring Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals for four prospects. Greinke was always a possibility for the Nationals, who desired a front-line starter for next season.
But Greinke had a no-trade clause to 15 teams, including the Nationals. He exercised that no-trade clause, killing a deal that the Royals and Nationals agreed on, according to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman.
#royals were close to deal w/ #nats. but greinke had right to reject trade to wash and told kc he wouldnt go. he approved crew, tho
greinke rejected #nats but accepted #brewers bec he believes milwaukee can win sooner, i hear. also said to like city
The reported deal, according to Heyman, involved Drew Storen, Danny Espinosa and others going to Kansas City. The Nationals always wanted Greinke, but were unwilling to trade both Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann. It doesn't appear that either of those players were involved in the trade.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson has confirmed Heyman's report.
That Greinke felt the Brewers were closer to contention than the Nationals is understandable, yet frustrating. However, there's an argument to be made that gutting the farm system for anyone, even someone as talented as Greinke, is not a smart move. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post makes that case.
The Nationals have come a long way with their farm system. But, as owner Mark Lerner acknowledged this week, it is not yet at the point where they can afford to be swapping swaths of prospects for one impact major leaguer. If they gave away Zimmermann along with any two or three of Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Drew Storen or Roger Bernadia, the hole created would have been greater than the one filled. And the Nationals are not at the point where they have the depth in their farm system to replace that kind of trade from within.