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Zack Greinke realistic about K.C.'s future

Yeah, the Royals have some serious prospects in the minors. But will they be good soon enough to help Zack Greinke play for a winning team. As Bob Dutton writes, Greinke has serious doubts ...

    “Every system has something,” he said. “The biggest problem is I have two more years on my contract. Are those guys supposed to make it up by the beginning of next year?”

Tell him, yes, some are projected to reach the majors next year, and Greinke just shakes his head. He seems a resigned skeptic dulled by the hard reality of too many losses over too many years.

“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.”If you're the Royals, you probably wish your best pitcher was a) more circumspect, or b) less intelligent.

But Greinke's exactly right. If Mission 2012 is successful, the Royals are decentin the last season of Greinke's contract but they're not likely to compete for a postseason berth. Of course, crazy things can happen, but you can certainly understand Greinke's skepticism.

You can also wish he'd accept a little responsibility. He's pitching quite well this season, but not as well as he pitched last season (granted, few men have followed up a season like last season with another as brilliant). And nobody forced him to sign his current contract. If he hadn't, he could have been a free agent after this season, and signed with a good team for a truly massive amount of money.

Greinke's obviously a pretty sharp guy. Maybe he's sharp enough to get traded. Maybe he's sharp enough to pitch so well over the next couple of seasons that he'll essentially be presented with a blank contract after the 2012 season.

Meanwhile, the Royals probably should trade Greinke. Not because he's honest and intelligent, but because he won't be around in 2013 or '14, and they might as well start collecting players who will be.