Most of the hot stove rumors that have surrounded the Yankees have either involved Derek Jeter or Cliff Lee.

This past week, a new name circled the rumor mill, and to be truthful, it’s a rather shocking one.

According to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke would be willing to be traded to the Yankees if a possible trade would happen.

What is most surprising is that it’s been public knowledge that Greinke has the Yankees on a list of teams he put on his no-trade clause, and now he is changing his mind about it.

If I am Brian Cashman and the Yankees, I stay far away as possible from anything to do with Greinke.

Granted, he was the 2009 Cy Young winner, going 16-8 with a 2.12 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 229 innings that year.

Greinke also will be just 28 years old when the 2011 season begins, four years younger than Lee.

But we are also talking about someone with a no-trade list of 15 teams, which includes the Yankees, because he doesn’t want to play in certain high-market areas.

Greinke also left baseball during 2006, because he had major anxiety issues but was able to overcome them and return to baseball.

Now, having anxiety issues in Kansas City are one thing. Kansas City is a small-market town with small-market media.

Having anxiety issues in New York City while playing for the Yankees? The two things just don’t go together.

Granted, his issues were four to five years ago, but when you are always in the spotlight with that type of past, with the media always questioning your every decision and move, there is a good chance his anxiety level might rise up again.

Also, another red flag against Greinke is the fact that he has absolutely no big-game experience in his time in the majors.

Since coming up with the Royals in 2004, Greinke has never pitched in a pennant race or in a playoff game. When you sign on to pitch for the Yankees, pitching in a pennant race comes with the job. How would Greinke even hold up during that kind of pressure?

What if he pitched in a really bad game and got shelled? How does he react? Would he face the music or does he go and hide away from the media?

This is a major reason why I want the Yankees to get Cliff Lee over Greinke.

We all know what kind of big-game pitcher Lee is, who is currently 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA since the 2009 postseason. Lee’s big-game ability and calmness under pressure is exactly why the Yankees are preparing to spend the money to get him.

On the other hand, Greinke has none of this. Being stuck on lousy Kansas City teams hasn’t allowed Greinke to get a taste of that type of baseball experience.

Now, we are all getting ahead of ourselves a bit, because right now, Greinke is considered to be the Yankees’ “Plan B” if for some reason the Cliff Lee negotiations don’t work out.

Personally, I think the Yankees will end up with Lee when it is all set and done, so the Yankees wouldn’t have to worry about trying to obtain Greinke.

In Passan’s story, it is stated that friends close to Greinke said that him going to New York would not be a good fit for him.

I don’t buy that Greinke really wants to come to the Yankees. I think he just wants out of Kansas City.

Many of the baseball executives and writers feel that if the Royals do intend to trade Greinke, it would probably be to the Texas Rangers.

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman has reported that Greinke is “all but ready to leave Kansas City and be dealt to a contender who will win.”

If Greinke is willing to be traded to a contender, him going to Texas would make a whole lot more sense than him going to the Yankees. Texas has a very deep farm system and probably would be able to swing a deal for Greinke, which is one of the Rangers’ plans if Lee goes to the Yankees.

Right now, the Yankees are going full-blown after Lee and still have to negotiate with Jeter, Mariano Rivera and possibly Andy Pettitte, too.

Plus, any deal involving Greinke would almost certainly have to start with catching prospect Jesus Montero.

With Jorge Posada being transitioned into the DH role for 2011, Cashman has said that Montero has a chance to win the starting catching job in spring training.

If the Yankees view Montero as the future heir to Posada and being a key in their order, then there’s really no point or chance that a deal with the Royals would ever take place.

As the month of December begins, baseball’s hot stove of rumors will begin to pick up, especially with the winter meetings taking place in Orlando.

If I were a betting man, I would put my money down on the Yankees not going after Greinke. Not now, not ever.

Hopefully, the Yankees and Cashman will feel the same way as I do and stick to their plan of getting Lee.

By Christmas, when this is all set and done, Cliff Lee will be with the Yankees, and Zack Greinke will be with the Rangers. 

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