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ESPN report details Diamondbacks’ process of trading Zack Greinke

ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 14: Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

It appears the Arizona Diamondbacks’ buzzer-beater trade deadline deal shipping Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros was as wild as you would imagine behind the scenes.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan broke down the timeline of events that got the trade done, including the nugget D-backs general manager Mike Hazen also revealed that talks didn’t even get underway until the day before the deadline.

As it turns out, Passan says that because of the New York Mets trading for Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, that had the Astros begin looking elsewhere for the starter they needed.

It compelled the Astros to ask internally: What about Greinke? At 35 years old, he remains a master of command, the ball his to manipulate up and down and side to side and high mph to low. Other teams have considered him available in a deal because the size of his six-year, $206.5 million contract long has taken up a cartoonish portion of Arizona’s payroll, and Houston wasn’t on the ace’s no-trade list. While they were open to anything, the Diamondbacks didn’t shop Greinke in the days leading up to the deadline.

From there, it was two teams understanding how quickly the reality of striking a potential deal could come. To illustrate how far the discussions came, the D-backs still rolled out Greinke for his scheduled start the morning of the deadline despite talks with Houston still being underway.

What (Astros general manager Jeff) Luhnow offered for Greinke initially wasn’t enough to satisfy Arizona. When the value of the prospect package increased, some in Houston balked — the same instinct that held up other teams plenty present in the Astros’ front office.

Once things started getting real, that was the point where ownership stepped in. Houston owner Jim Crane and the D-backs’ Ken Kendrick got involved. With the amount of money both the Astros would need to pay Greinke and Arizona would still have to send Houston for part of Greinke’s contract, that was necessary.

Another point where outside forces impacted the discussions was the realization the Astros had that no other contender was making a big-time move. The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t do much.

With 20-30 minutes left to the deadline, that’s when Hazen and Luhnow had a deal agreed upon, with Greinke going to Houston in exchange for four prospects.

There were many more formalities left to get done, though, such as medicals where deals can die. Those got done, as did the deal itself.

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