With Zack Greinke, there were always two big questions that needed answering.
We needed to know if the Brewers would fall far enough out of the race that they'd be convinced to sell. And we needed to know if there was any chance he'd preempt their decision to sell by deciding to sign a new contract.
With a week to go before the nonwaiver trading deadline, we think we know the answer to those two questions. But now there's a third question that matters:
Is he healthy?
Greinke missed a start last week because he didn't feel right after starting three consecutive games sandwiching the All-Star break. The Brewers say it's not a big deal. Teams interested in trading for him say, let's see about that.
Greinke is scheduled to return to the mound Tuesday night in Philadelphia, in the middle game of a series that is sure to attract many of America's most important scouts.
The Brewers seem sure to sell after they were swept over the weekend in Cincinnati to fall 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Reds. Players like Francisco Rodriguez and Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart and Randy Wolf could be available. Greinke should be too, considering that the Brewers have already determined that even an offer of more than $100 million won't be enough to get him to sign.
The Phillies would seem to be sellers, too, but in their case it's far more complicated.
First, there's a real chance that they sign their potentially biggest trade chip, lefthander Cole Hamels. The Phillies have made offers, good enough offers that it's not impossible that they could be announcing a deal this week.
Iit's also possible that Hamels could turn the offers down, decide to head to free agency and quite possibly be moved to another team by next week.
The Phillies have other players that have attracted interest, from Cliff Lee (who faces Greinke on Tuesday) to Shane Victorino to Jimmy Rollins. But the Phillies also have a long sellout streak that they'd like to keep going, and they have the longshot dreams of getting back in the race.
Other teams are also deciding what to do this week, from the Marlins to the Rays and beyond. Perhaps by the end of the week, we'll have some answers.
On to 3 to Watch:
1. Just a friendly reminder that July deals don't always work out for the buyer: A year ago, we were all wondering where Ubaldo Jimenez would land. Since then, Jimenez has gone 12-13 with a 5.18 ERA in 30 starts, heading into Tigers at Indians, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field. Oh, and a reminder of how July deals can work out well: Doug Fister, Jimenez's Tuesday night opponent, is 12-7 with a 2.96 ERA in his 24 games for the Tigers. The Tigers have won five straight and 13 of their past 15 to take over first place in the American League Central, but they're 1-5 this year against the Indians.
2. Greinke is 25-9 with a 3.72 in his 48 starts since the Brewers acquired him in a trade with the Royals. He'll get at least one more start, in Brewers at Phillies, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park. Lee went just 4 for 6 in 15 starts after the Rangers traded for him in 2010, but without his efforts in the playoffs, they never would have made it to the World Series that year. Now, there's some chance the Rangers could be interested in getting him again.
3. We've heard before the Rays were willing to trade James Shields, only to see them keep him. The signs seem to be stronger this time around, enough so that the scout turnout should be big for Shields' start in Rays at Orioles, Wednesday afternoon (12:35 ET) at Camden Yards. At least one of the two wildcard spots in the American League seems up for grabs, but the Rays are just two games over .500.