Royals owner is thankful Zack Greinke wanted out of Kansas City

The Royals are happy starting pitcher Zack Greinke, seen here after signing with the Dodgers in 2012, wanted a trade in 2010. The subsequent trade netted Kansas City two ALCS MVPs.

The Royals are happy starting pitcher Zack Greinke, seen here after signing with the Dodgers in 2012, wanted a trade in 2010. The subsequent trade netted Kansas City two ALCS MVPs.

(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

The last time Zack Greinke pitched here, he was booed. The good fans of Kansas City have long memories.

As it turns out, the owner of the Kansas City Royals also has a long memory. When Greinke decided he no longer wanted to be here, the Royals traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar, the most valuable players of the last two American League Championship Series.

“When I see Zack,” Royals owner David Glass told the Kansas City Star with a smile, “I’m going to thank him for being a good enough talent that we could get those pieces.”

Greinke last pitched for the Royals in 2010, one year after winning the American League Cy Young Award. When he returned last season with the Dodgers, he acknowledged he had been “pretty rude” in campaigning for a trade so he could play for a winner.

“I didn’t want to be rude,” he said last year. “I felt I had to in order to get traded, and I wanted to get traded.”


At the time of his trade, the Royals had not had a winning season in seven years and had not been to the postseason in 25 years. Since then, Greinke has gone from the Brewers to the Angels to the Dodgers, playing in the postseason four times without appearing in the World Series. He is expected to opt out of his Dodgers contract after the World Series.

The Dodgers reached the playoffs in each of the three years since signing Greinke, with a postseason record of 8-11. The Royals’ record in postseason play this year and last: 18-8.

Minority hiring watch

The Philadelphia Phillies on Monday introduced former Angels executive Matt Klentak as general manager. Klentak comes from the emerging template for general managers — he is in his 30s and went to an Ivy League school.

“It’s hard to look at our group of general managers and talk about it as an old-boy network,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “because they ain’t very old.”

Nonetheless, Manfred said he is concerned that there might be no black managers in the major leagues next season. He said he wants teams to hire whatever candidate they feel is best for the job, but he also said he wants to attract blacks and Latinos to entry-level executive jobs and nurture their advancement up the career ladder.

“What we need to do is make sure that we work very hard to have diverse candidates who turn out to be the most qualified person for the job,” Manfred said.


Kenta Maeda watch

Kenta Maeda was announced as winner of the Sawamura Award, presented to the best pitcher in Japan. The right-hander could be an intriguing addition to a free-agent market expected to be headed by the likes of Greinke, David Price, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann, none of whom is younger than 29.

Maeda, 27, last winter asked his Japanese club, the Hiroshima Carp, to make him available to Major League Baseball clubs. After the Carp declined, Maeda said he hoped the team would allow him to leave this winter. He is under Hiroshima’s control through the 2017 season.

The Dodgers need starting pitching, and their lineage of successful Asian pitchers includes Hideo Nomo, Chan Ho Park, Hideki Kuroda and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The scouts who reported that Masahiro Tanaka was not worth the money no longer work for the Dodgers.

Arizona Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa saw Maeda pitch in August.

Maeda had a 15-8 record and a 2.09 earned-run average this season. He faced 821 batters and gave up five home runs.


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