One team was a dark-horse contender for a World Series appearance, the other continues on its long road back to respectability. Neither team lived up to expectations this season, but perhaps they can help each other along the way.

The Colorado Rockies were expected to win the NL West and compete for a spot in the World Series. The Kansas City Royals were expected to improve and start to show the promise that their rich pipeline of prospects has many industry experts drooling over.

It didn’t work out for either team. Colorado suffered through injuries and inconsistent play and while their standard early September run had them within spitting distance of the division title, another run on inconsistent play has dropped them seven games out, while losing 10 of 11 games.

The Rockies have had their bright spots this season, Ubaldo Jiménez won 19 games and both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki will garner some MVP votes. Kansas City started off strong but faded badly as the youth movement struggled.

The key component is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Zack Grienke.

Greinke has put together another stellar season for Kansas City, even if his 10-14 record doesn’t reflect it, but his frustration with losing is growing by the day. When asked about the future, Grienke replied that “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.”

That doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement from the face of the franchise, especially since his contract expires in 2012 and few expect him to stick around to see the rebuilding process through.

Here is where the deal can get done. Dayton Moore and Dan O’Dowd need to have a conversation, one that centers on a Grienke to Colorado in exchange for Dexter Fowler, Chris Ianetta and some combination of top prospects Tyler Matzek, Rex Brothers, etc.

Fowler & Ianetta fit perfectly into the Kansas City youth movement and give them additional flexibility in both the OF and behind the plate. Kansas City has a ton of young talent coming up the pipeline and has the time and luxury to see if Fowler and Ianetta will develop and round into form. This is a classic “change of scenery” trade.

Both teams could get really creative and you have a potential blockbuster trade if Kansas City is willing to include Billy Butler in a deal with Grienke. Butler is only 24 years old and has made it clear he wants to play first base and not DH.

The Rockies need a young first baseman and Butler would fit into their budget for the next three years.It would also give the Rockies a potential starting rotation of Jiménez, Greinke, De La Rosa, Chacin and Hamels.

Dealing Grienke would be a huge risk for Kansas City, but if management doesn’t feel that his is invested in the rebuilding effort and won’t be around to see the end result, it may be time to move him and grab more young, athletic prospects.

For Colorado, adding Grienke would be the big move they need to further compete in the NL West and create a formidable rotation.

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