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Zack Greinke Not Optimstic About Royals Future

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The feeling outside Kansas City is that the Royals minor league system is among the best in baseball and, by 2012, they'll be legitimate contenders.

Zack Greinke, for one, isn't buying it.

"The biggest problem is," Greinke told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, "I have two more years on my contract. Are those guys supposed to make it up by the beginning of next year?"

Greinke expressed frustration to Dutton saying he's heard the same thing over and over again with the Royals rebuild.

"Very rarely," he argued, "do guys come straight into the big leagues and make an impact, especially hitters. Just look at the top prospects in baseball. Delmon Young was one five years ago, and he’s finally starting to play well.

"Alex Gordon was one four years ago, and he might be starting to play well now. So the problem (with the Royals’ prospects) is that it’s not like as soon as they get here that it’s going to be instant (success). Maybe by 2014."

Greinke says he's been through three of these rebuilds and none of them have worked before.

He's absolutely right. There is a lot of optimism around Kansas City for the 2012 season but how many times have we said that? The Royals have been full of high draft picks for the last two decades and where has it gotten them?

2012? Really?

The most damning part of the story is that Greinke recognizes his contract is up in 2012 and he doesn't think the Royals will be contenders by then.

"There’s no reason for me to get real excited about it," he said, "because the chance of more than one of them making a major impact by the time my contract is up is pretty slim."

And if that's the case....Well, we don't know what will happen.

Greinke will be the highest paid player in franchise history in 2012, the final year of his contract. He is far and away the most recognizable and most accomplished Royal and probably of everyone in involved in Kansas City sports.

The thing with Greinke is that it doesn't seem like it's about money. You can blame David Glass -- and he definitely deserves blame -- but this isn't a money problem. This is a winning problem.

At the end of the 2011 season, if the Royals promise isn't significantly higher and there aren't actual results, the Royals only option may be to trade Greinke.

And then it will start all over again.