It was only a matter of time before the Milwaukee Brewers dealt Zack Greinke away; he was the last fascinating “trade block” player left. The point of this column is not to clarify what Greinke’s departure to the West Coast means in terms of fantasy baseball, because he will remain a stellar pitcher who will consistently bring in points. Rather, the point of this column is to discuss the paradigm shift that occurred in the world of baseball money line betting because of the deal struck between the Brewers and Angels.
Prior to being traded, Greinke was a relatively risky bet in the money-line system. It sounds a bit crazy, but it is essentially a fact. He was a high-risk, low-reward player in the world of money line betting. I don’t think anybody can argue that Greinke was the Brewers’ ace. With a 9-3 record, it most certainly seems to be the case. Statistically, I would argue he is having one of the best seasons of his career. Yet, I refused to place a money line bet on him as a member of the Brewers.
The reason why? He had little to no help from the rest of the team. The Brewers are currently keeping afloat, 14 games behind the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds. The team is 3-7 in their last 10 games. Offensively, they are in the bottom half of batting average in the NL. Aside from leading the NL in home runs, the Brewers don’t have much to hang their hats on. And when money line betting is simply picking the right team, I am afraid Greinke did not have enough pull to overcome the offensive shortcomings of the Brewers.
Beginners at money line betting probably lost quite a bit simply by betting on Grenike’s All-Star name alone. I mean, it would be difficult to bet against a former Cy Young winner. But, often, conventional wisdom is heavily outweighed by baseball logistics in the money line system.
And that is why Greinke’s trade to the Angels is a complete paradigm shift.
Greinke is coming from a team in the bottom half of batting average and going to one that is second best in the American League. He is leaving a team that is slowly exiting the playoff race (thus, losing a reason to actually care about the remainder of the season) to one that just bettered its chances of winning its division from the Rangers because of his acquisition.
In other words, Greinke has instantly become a safe and, most likely, a profitable bet in the money line system. When the entire concept of a betting system is framed around the starting pitchers in any one game, it is vitally important to take into account those backing a pitcher. In this specific case, the Angels provide a safety net for Greinke that the Brewers could not provide. And, because of that, it is likely some of the most reliable betting agents are going to start heavily favoring every Greinke start in the betting odds.
And, truth be told, that is the correct decision to be making.