Rumor: Greinke Open to Playing for St. Louis Cardinals?

MILWAUKEE–I try to refrain from mentioning the Redbirds as much as possible here, but this time I’ll have to make an exception.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cardinals could have the potential to be a player in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nears. Though he remains unsure as to whether the Brewers would be willing to trade Greinke within the division, Rosenthal believes that returning to the state of Missouri — where he started his career with the Kansas City Royals — would be “particularly intriguing.

Here’s exactly what Rosenthal had to say:

Greinke, who began his career in Kansas City, would be particularly intriguing — he likely would welcome a trade to St. Louis and a chance to sign with the Cardinals long term. It is not known whether the Brewers would be willing to trade Greinke within the division, but they should be if the deal would work to their benefit.

Currently just two and a half games out of first place in the National League Central division, the Cardinals’ starting rotation has actually been one of the best in all of baseball this season. According to FanGraphs, St. Louis starters have combined for an 8.3 WAR (wins above replacement) rating, good enough for sixth-best among all Major League rotations and third-best among all those in the National League.  Adding Greinke — who currently maintains the highest WAR rating (3.5) among all MLB starters — could be the ideal situation.

How could this deal be possible?

For starters, the Cardinals maintain a slew of prospects that could potentially lure Milwaukee into dealing Greinke much sooner than later. Baseball America ranked St. Louis’ system as the 10th-best among all minor-league systems. Leading the way are RHP Shelby Miller, third-baseman Zack Cox, and hot-hitting outfielder Oscar Taveras. It is not known whether or not the Cardinals would be willing to deal any of those players in return for Greinke.

Last week, I wrote a collaborative piece with a number of other columnists to see what the Brewers could get back should they deal Greinke. The Rangers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Braves and Red Sox seemed to be the front-runners in the sweepstakes, but if what Rosenthal just recently reported is found to be true, it could be the Cardinals who ultimately nab Greinke prior to or at the deadline.

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