Brewers Get Greinke
According to multiple reports, the Brewers have obtained ace Zack Greinke from the Royals in a six-player trade that also will send shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to Milwaukee.
In return, the Brewers send to Kansas City young shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, and minor league pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress.
It looks like a good short-term deal for the Brew Crew, who are pushing hard for a playoff run in what could be Prince Fielder‘s last year in Milwaukee. Greinke steps right into the top of the rotation, which also added Shaun Marcum from Toronto a few weeks ago to join holdovers Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson. On the downside, the Brewers gave up a defensive whiz in Escobar, replacing him with Betancourt, whose defense is more like Cheez Whiz. I wonder if they will make another deal for better glove man (maybe sign free-agent Orlando Cabrera?), since it doesn’t make much sense to assemble a strong pitching staff and then put poor defensive players behind it.
As for the Royals, they receive a package of youngsters — most of whom are at least a year or two away from MLB-ready. Fellow SweetSpot blog Royals Authority has mixed feelings about the deal. Escobar played 145 games for the Brewers last year, but some might argue he isn’t yet a Major League player because of his offensive deficiencies. He has good speed, but not much else, and looked overmatched against big-league pitching. However, he just turned 24 years old a few days ago and has time to improve. Cain is a highly coveted, “toolsy”, athletic centerfielder with good speed; he could step in as the Royals’ starting CF in 2011. Odorizzi is a 20-year-old righthander who has yet to pitch above A-ball but was considered by many to be the Brewers’ top pitching prospect and has showed good progress in his young pro career. Jeffress is the most intriguing talent in the group, but also the most risky; he can hit triple digits on the radar gun but has been suspended twice (and missed 150 games) for testing positive for drugs (substance-abuse related, not PEDs). If he tests positive one more time, he is banned for life. The 22-year-old flamethrower struck out 8 in 10 innings of big-league action last year and projects as a lights-out closer if he can keep himself clean.
So Milwaukee gets a Cy Young candidate, and the Royals get a boatload of prospects. Meanwhile, according to Adam Rubin, the Mets find out in a few days if they are the winners of the Jeff Francis Sweepstakes. Yee ha.
It’s a little frustrating to see so many top-of-the-line starters move the past few months while the Mets, clearly in need of pitching, stand pat. But this deal doesn’t bother me as much as the others.