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Why The Royals Should Absolutely Trade Zack Greinke

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When a player shakes the dust from his sandals, it's usually obvious what the team should do. When that player is far and away a team's best player, the team must think twice about the consequences.

That's the Royals conundrum with Zack Greinke. The talented hurler and former Cy Young winner has made his feelings known in recent days that the Royals won't be competitive in his time left with the team before he hits free agency again. For those who might have missed it, Greinke questioned the team's ability to put together a contender by 2012 saying that even if the prospects in the pipeline are that good, they still won't contribute much of consequence so early. He also adds that the Royals should "at least put a team together that has a fighting chance" while he's around.

Usually that's enough said for a front office. The direction from that point is generally to run the player out of town, and multiple disgruntled veterans have been let go or traded from teams in every major sport under such circumstances. In fact, it's a yearly occurrence. Yet in this instance, Greinke is a frontline starting pitcher in a sport where such No. 1s are hard to come by. An ace is an ace, and there's only so many of them in a deck. The Royals have one in hand and they're wise to consider carefully the letting go of that asset.

Yet Greinke is right in many ways. The Royals won't be ready by then. They might be promising, they might break even, they might even make some noise later in a season. But they will not be playoff-bound by then. And the Royals, therefore, have a decision to make. If they truly believe Greinke is bolting, then it's time to clear house. If he might actually resign, then you keep him and roll with the quotes.

It's not about the return on Greinke, although that should be a nice haul considering the prize. Instead, it's about a leadership and clubhouse culture for the players Greinke was referring to. As Mike Montgomery and Eric Hosmer (among others) make their way to the highest levels, a new attitude will be established in Kansas City. It's one that hopefully doesn't allow room for an attitude of frustration like what Greinke has. Baseball is such a mental sport and a cancerous dugout could be detrimental to the developmental years of some key players.

Greinke both deserves to play elsewhere and the Royals of tomorrow deserve a chance to make their own morale -- to believe in the possibility of a brand new day in Kansas City without worrying about the sunset years on a pitching veteran's fine career.