Jays still after Greinke

Former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke is on the Jays' shopping list. (Getty Images)

Former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke is on the Jays' shopping list. (Getty Images)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:25 PM ET

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Blue Jays' push for right-hander Zack Greinke continues.

And the Jays talk surrounding Greinke — even if the Kansas City Royals’ former Cy Young award never ever puts on a Toronto uniform — is news.

We’re hearing from baseball people that the Jays think they need “one more big piece” to make a run at the American League East title next season.

In earlier talks with clubs the Jays expressed the feeling that the New York Yankees might not be as strong next season — if they don’t land Cliff Lee.

The Jays have also said that the Tampa Bay Rays could back up somewhat with the loss of Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena.

And the Jays didn’t think the Boston Red Sox were as strong as they were this season, although this was before the Red Sox agreed to a deal in principle to acquire slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres on Saturday.

The Jays have been the most aggressive dialing the 816 area code. 

Good news from the winter meetings if you are a Jays fan. 

The Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers are also in the hunt. 

The Rangers say they’d like to sign Lee and deal for Greinke.

The Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds, plus the Seattle Mariners and the Washington Nationals have called Royals general manager Dayton Moore. If Greinke didn’t like losing in Missouri he won’t like it in either Washington state or D.C.

Also-rans in the Lee sweepstakes could also enter the Greinke hunt, for if you’re trying to add an ace for next season there are two choices: Lee and Greinke.

Greinke, who turned 27 two months ago, could probably be had for former No. 1 picks Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider and some minor leaguers.

Wouldn’t that be a sudden turn of events? A year ago this week the foundation was laid to send Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies for three prospects, the best of which being Drabek.

And now this week Drabek is the man the Royals want as the Jays try to acquire another ace. 

Greinke was 10-14 with a 4.17 earned run average in 33 starts for the fifth-place Royals, who won 67 games and finished 27 games behind the Twins. He’ll make $13.5 million in 2011-12. And as we’ve heard time and again from 1 Blue Jay Way “money is not a problem.”

The right-hander walked 55 and struck out 181 in 220 innings. 

Greinke has yet to submit a list of teams he’ll approve a trade — however, in August he sounded like Halladay a few seasons back when Greinke said “this is at least the third full re-building phase since I’ve been here.” 

“What about Greinke?” might be the first question Alex Anthopoulos hears when he enters the Swan and Dolphin resort at annual winter meeting Sunday.  

Voting day

The late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, former Players Association leader Marvin Miller, catcher Ted Simmons and former Jays GM Pat Gillick are on the 12-person Expansion Era Hall of Fame ballot. The committee meets Sunday and Monday we’ll know if anyone is Cooperstown bound.

Hall of Famers voting are Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith, executives Bill Gilles of the Phillies, David Glass of the Royals, Andy MacPhail of the Orioles and Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox and writers Tim Krukjian of ESPN, Ross Newhan, formerly of the Los Angeles Times and Tom Verducci of Sports Illustated.   

Winter workouts

Manager John Farrell will stage a mini-camp Jan. 6 at the Rogers Centre for a number of Jays players, coming off injuries and newcomers to the organization.  

Legendary managers

Cito Gaston, former Jays manager will be one of four skippers honoured Monday by commissioner Bud Selig. The four: Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Lou Piniella and Gaston combined to win more than 6,500 games.

Torre (2,326-1,997, .538) won four World Series, Gaston (918-851, .519) won two, while Cox (2,504-2001, .556) and Piniella (1,835-1,713, .517) won one each.


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