Blog Entry

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

Posted on: February 23, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 4:21 pm


In a wide-ranging interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Zack Greinke admitted he "just did what he was asked" the second half of 2010 for the Royals, a tacit admission he wasn't invested in his or the team's production.

"When the games started, I pitched 100% every time," he said. "But in the second half, I just did what was asked."


"Close to the trade deadline and I was doing all this stuff, the organization wasn’t really doing the same effort. They were doing the same effort the long run but not for that season or the next season. It’s not easy to play 162 games and be focused the whole time. It takes a lot out of you."

No one's denying that it's difficult to be focused for 162 games. After all, it's a marathon, not a sprint. But to admit that he didn't do all that he could have done in the second half is not just a disservice to himself, but a disservice to the game. His frustration doesn't appear to stem from the way the Royals did business -- just how they were approaching the season, which speaks to Greinke's personal motivations.

"They’re probably No. 1 in prospects in all of baseball," he said. (In fact, they are No. 1, and by far.) "When your prospects are that good, it’s hard to ignore it. It had to almost change the path of the organization."

That's exactly what happened in K.C., as the Royals are preparing for a brutal season this year, all in the name of working in their top players over the year and into 2012. That doesn't give Greinke license to take the year off, however. And looking at his first- and second-half splits, it's easy to see the difference. In 18 starts prior to the All-Star break, Greinke posted a 3.71 ERA, whiffing 101 and walking just 22. That's not close to his 2009 AL Cy Young Award season, but still a darn good pitcher.

The second half, however, saw his ERA spike to 4.72 in 15 starts, punching out 80 and walking 33. While his strikeout rate only dipped 0.8 points, his walk rate ballooned. So the statistics back up Greinke's claim that he didn't do above and beyond what was asked of him (which was simply to take the ball every fifth day). 

And yeah, even though the Royals weren't -- and didn't -- win, you don't get paid $7.25 million to jake it.

The Royals may not have put a winning team around Greinke, but to repay this way K.C. for the hoops it jumped through to make sure Greinke got the treatment and time needed to deal with his social anxiety disorder is disturbing. Then-GM Allard Baird was tireless in defending Greinke for walking out as one of the best pitching prospects that had come along in quite a long time. To hear Greinke tell it, he could have sworn he was done with baseball.

Greinke"I was done playing [in my mind]," he said. "I was surprised I came back. They had me see a psychologist. We found out what was going on and why I didn’t like going on a baseball field. I thought it was a 10 percent chance of coming back."

Now that he's admitted how he dogged the second half of the year, it will be a reputation that ends up following him for the rest of his career. Now, teams know to keep him happy and keep the team winning, or he'll check out. And that's not a reputation you want, especially when the team already has to manage keeping him happy, which is clearly difficult to do. 

And what happens if Milwaukee fails after the year? They gave up major pieces of their future to get Greinke, expecting him to pitch at the top of his level for at least the two years he is under contract. But this is a team going for it this year, with Prince Fielder as a free agent. Although Grienke says he expects the Brewers to win beyond 2011, Fielder or not... what happens if they don't win? Does Greinke check out?

As a Brewer, he's been pleased with how camp has gone so far, saying he has fit in easily. But then you hear this: "I like a lot of the guys. I haven't seen anyone yet that's annoying to me. They've all been good."

Now, it's very difficult to judge Greinke for this particular bit, as the fact remains that he has social anxiety disorder and it clearly affects him, and those that don't suffer from it can never truly know what it is like. Still, it's notable that he looks out for people that could be "annoying" -- and given his social anxiety disorder, he could find simple chit-chat annoying. That appears to be why he dislikes talking to the media, because of all the "eyewash comments" he gets when "random people come and waste my time talking every day. It takes eight minutes to get a real question out because they’re like buttering me up," Greinke says. "Then they get to the question and it’s a stupid question. So it’s a waste of 10 minutes, and in that 10-minute time I don’t get to do what I needed to do."

Except that's a cop-out, right? After all, Greinke had plenty of time for the media last year given he wasn't preparing to pitch after the All-Star break.

"To talk to people, I have to spend energy talking to them," he said. "If I expend my energy on talking to people and making friends, it takes away from the energy I could focus on getting ready to pitch. I try to avoid nonsense talk."

Greinke clearly views communicating with people as an expense, and he admits it affects him in meetings with the team or the daily pitcher/catcher meetings prior to each game.

"It wears me out to do stuff like our meetings every day," Greinke admitted. "If I actually listen to the person talking, it’ll wear me out. So I kind of go into a little daze. Then I’m still refreshed from it."

Give Greinke credit for this: he's honest, and he's not afraid to show how he feels. This allows us to understand where he's coming from. It can't be easy to suffer from social anxiety disorder and play a profession that demands constant interaction.

Openly admitting not giving his all, however, is unacceptable no matter the circumstances.

UPDATE: This is important -- Tom Haudricourt wrote a follow-up article later Wednesday that made clear that none of the reporters sensed any "malice" on Greinke's part with regards to the comment about annoyance and the media. "These are simply the daily demons that he deals with," Haudricourt writes.

Let's be clear about one thing. I certainly wish no malice on Greinke's part. In fact, I find it impressive and commendable how far he has come and how successfully he has managed his disorder.

It remains no excuse for dogging it. And Greinke clearly stated that he did. 

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB

Since: Jul 12, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 5:34 pm

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

Yep, predicting the Brewers will be 15 out, Prince will be traded by the deadline and Greinke will phone it in again.  Why would I try to piss you off??  I don't even know you.  Just one man's prediction thats all.  I hope the Brewers do well because I like to see smaller market teams bring a little excitement in September.  Who knows, now that Wainwright is done for the year, Milwaukee may have just leap frogged St. Louis.

Out by 15?  May have leap frogged St. Louis?  Last time the Cards lost one of their great starting pitchers for the year was 2007 (Carpenter), they finished below .500.  Right now the Brewers have the best starting rotation in the NL Central hands down (with Wainwright out).  15 games out... that's a bold prediction.   

Since: Oct 5, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:03 pm

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

I'm surprised that people are only starting to pay attention to this now; it's something he copped to months ago before the 2010 season even ended.  He told the Royals beat writers he was basically unmotivated and therefore didn't perform for the last half of the season.   If the Brewers didn't know about it they didn't do their homework. 

As for the rest - unsocial attitude, brutal honesty - this is nothing new either.  It's how he's always been; expecting him to change is foolish. 

Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:54 pm

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

Well alright.  Every man is entitled to his own opinion.  I guess I just don't care for yours.  As for Prince being traded by the deadline, if he is I guess he is.  He is replacable.  If he puts up numbers like he did last year Scott Boras can lobby all he wants for a huge contract but he's not going to get what he thinks he's worth.  That huge payday becomes even more hard to attain if Albert is on the market.  Don't get me wrong, I like Prince a lot, but if he isn't in it for the team and cares only about himself, then best of luck to you and goodbye. 

Since: Nov 15, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:55 pm

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

Yep, predicting the Brewers will be 15 out, Prince will be traded by the deadline and Greinke will phone it in again.  Why would I try to piss you off??  I don't even know you.  Just one man's prediction thats all.  I hope the Brewers do well because I like to see smaller market teams bring a little excitement in September.  Who knows, now that Wainwright is done for the year, Milwaukee may have just leap frogged St. Louis.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:02 pm

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

Lets blame this on Lebron James. Lebron started a new precedent of dogging it when his team clearly sucks and is out of contention.

Seriously, I don't blame Greinke for dogging it. He was not the only one. That Royals team had quite a bit of talent on it two seasons ago and crapped themselves. Injuries came around and players stood around not doing anything. They should have made at least one playoff appearance in the past 3 seasons.

The only thing I wonder is what does he mean by he did what they wanted him to do? Did the team ask him to not give it his all?

Since: Jun 11, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2011 9:00 am

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

Respect just went down for this guy. You need to make sure you always give your all. If you don't have the drive, then get out the game junior.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2011 1:06 am

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

You mean a player for a team that was out of the playoff race in mid-June and has annually been on the verge or dipped below the 100 loss mark for the season doesn't give his full effort?  Oh the humanity!!!

That's the reason the central division addition works, to give more teams a chance and to play more meaningful games down the stretch. It automatically let one more team into the playoffs for each league, and a handful of other teams have a shot in each league.
If you're bad in a five-team division, you're pretty bad. guys quit. They all want to win, the ones that lost to fielding and/or batting ineptitude. 
Sometimes players have no choice to leave in that situation. and they are resigned, so yes they quit. Too bad for the fans, but at least he's honest.

Since: Jul 6, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:36 am

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

Really?? do you watch baseball?
They dont have to admit it for you to notice players going through the motions.
Open your eyes next August, i expect a lot of rants about your observations come September

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:16 am

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

My gawd after seeing just the first page of this.  the previous poster said a lot of what I would have regarding being 100% all the time.  No one does it every day, every one has bad days at work and inefficient ones.

No one does it EVERY day and everyone has bad DAYS but this assclown admitted to not giving it his all 50% of the time. We would ALL be fired from our jobs if we admitted to trying this little.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:18 pm

Greinke admits dogging it with Royals

I work in a tire shop. I change hundreds, if not thousands, of tires every year. You know it's not the most exciting job in the world. Sometimes I lose interest too around the 4th of July after our busiest part of the year. Oh, I do what I'm suppose to do. I put four tires on the vehicle but I can't honestly say I tighten all the lug nuts.

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