MLB

MLB free agency – Zack Greinke, Freddie Freeman and the lost beauty of a one-team player

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This week, two things became true: Future Hall of Famer Zack Greinke will begin this season where he began his career, with the Kansas City Royals. And, for the first time in his 12-year career, future Hall of Famer — and soon to be Los Angeles Dodger — Freddie Freeman will not be suiting up with the Atlanta Braves.

This is also true: Both Kansas City and Atlanta have a very good chance at being better this season than last. Yes, Atlanta won a World Series, but the Braves also were under .500 for much of last season and finished the regular season with just 88 wins. The Royals have been rebuilding for the past four years, and are finally ready to contend.

In the end, the Braves and Royals may be better because of the moves they made this week, in spite of them, or a little of both. There are no guarantees one way or the other. In the short term, there is little in terms of bottom-line value to separate Greinke from Mike Minor, whom Greinke ostensibly replaced on the KC roster, or Freeman from Matt Olson, whom Atlanta acquired to take over for the face of their franchise.

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This week, as baseball’s post-lockout transactions have turned on like a firehose, most of the pieces on this site and others have been grading the impact of moves like these. It’s been fun, exhausting and a little dizzying. With one update to my forecasting spreadsheet this morning, I watched the Blue Jays from a close second-place vault finish behind the Yankees in the AL East to a favorite to win both the division and the pennant.

This piece, though, is not an analysis of the moves. It’s a lamentation — of one of them, anyway.

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