What would it take for the Nats to get Zack Greinke?


ESPN writer Buster Olney reported that the Washington Nationals have already been told what it would take to land Greinke in a trade

"“The Nationals were told that in order to get Greinke they would have to surrender Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen, and second baseman Danny Espinosa.”"

Without a doubt Greinke would provide the Nationals with the ace that they are lacking (that is until the return of Strasburg) but at some point you have to ask yourself is it worth the cost? I’m not sure that it is…..

Washington would be giving up three young (Zimmermann 24, Espinosa 23, Storen 23) and highly talented players that all had figured in to the Washington Nationals long term plans as major contributors.

Zimmermann was the Nationals number one pitching prospect prior to Strasburg being drafted and is still one of the most sought after players in the Nats organization. So much so that Nats owner Mark Lerner has been quoted as saying “I don’t think there’s a trade that’s ever asked for that doesn’t include Jordan Zimmermann’s name”. Zimmermann who was returning from an August 2009 tommy john surgery managed to pitch in 7 games for the Nationals last season. While he did have a couple bad games there was several encouraging signs shown such as having hit 95 mph on the radar gun and a strong finish to the season having allowed only 2 runs on 6 hits over 11 innings pitched in his last two games. He is now 16 months removed from tommy john surgery and should be completely ready to go for the upcoming season.

Espinosa in my opinion is a future all star and gold glove winner at second base. Between his play at the AA, AAA and MLB levels in 2010 he put up 28 home runs, 22 doubles, 6 triples and 25 stolen bases in 151 games. He has a plus arm with amazing range in the field. While it may just be a small sample it is worth noting that in 28 games with the Nationals he had a UZR/150 rating of 13.3 while playing second base. For anyone not familiar with what UZR/150 is well it is a statistical way of ranking how many runs above or below average a fielder is per 150 games. To get an idea of how good 13.3 is well National League Gold Glove winner Brandon Phillips only had a 9.7 rating. Having gotten to watch Espinosa in person during his September call ups with the Nationals he left me highly impressed.

Storen was the 10th player selected in the 2009 draft and is a strong favorite to win the spot as the Nationals closer for the 2011 season. In total Storen throws 4 pitches a mid 90s fastball, a mid 80s slider, a sinker and a change up. In his 2010 rookie season with the Nationals he pitched in 55.1 innings and had a 3.58 era. He did have some struggles last season but to be fair he was just a rookie. With the overall repertoire  of pitches that he has I would be surprised if Storen does not end up being a very successful pitcher.

So the question is is getting Zack Greinke who only has 2 years left on his contract worth giving up 3 possible long term pieces of the Nats future? For me I’m not so sure that it is