Blog Entry

Brewers go for it with Greinke

Posted on: December 19, 2010 10:48 am
Edited on: December 19, 2010 2:44 pm
The Brewers had two choices for 2011.

They could trade star first baseman Prince Fielder, who will be a free agent at the end of the season and is almost certain to leave for bigger money elsewhere. Or they could try one more time to fix their pitching enough to return to the playoffs.

Now we know which direction they chose.

Zack Greinke is a Brewer.

The Brewers and Royals completed the biggest deal of the offseason today, with Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt going to Milwaukee in exchange for shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress.

Adding Greinke to their rotation, along with Shaun Marcum (acquired from the Blue Jays earlier this month), makes the Brewers a strong contender in the National League Central. The Brewers scored the fourth-most runs in the league last year, but they allowed more runs than any NL team but Pittsburgh and Arizona.

Their starters were 15th in the league, with a 4.65 cumulative ERA, ahead of only the Pirates.

Now, with Greinke and Marcum to go along with 14-game winner Yovani Gallardo, the Brewers have the makings of a rotation they can win with.

To get him, they're giving up a lot of talent. Escobar hit just .235 in his rookie year, but Brewers people believed that he would develop into one of the best shortstops in baseball. Cain hit .306 in limited big-league action, and Odorizzi was one of the club's top pitching prospects. Jeffress has had his fastball clocked at 101 mph.

Still, it's easy to understand why Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would make the deal. Melvin built the Brewers into a playoff team in 2008, ending a 16-year drought and energizing the fan base, but Milwaukee followed that up with two sub-.500 finishes.

Now, Melvin saw his window for winning potentially closing. The Brewers have made efforts to re-sign Fielder, but with Scott Boras as his agent and with the price on premium players going through the roof this winter, they've come to understand that it's a near certainty that he'll go elsewhere.

In fact, as recently as the Winter Meetings in early December, the Brewers were having internal discussions on whether they should trade Fielder this offseason. While they were far from overwhelmed by the offers they were receiving, they also knew they could well be fielding even smaller offers come July.

At the same time, the Brewers were already engaged in talks with the Royals for Greinke. While the Rangers and Blue Jays were thought to be the most aggressive Greinke suitors at that time, the Brewers and Nationals were also trying hard. Jon Heyman of reported Sunday morning that the Nationals nearly had a deal for Greinke this weekend, but that Greinke used his no-trade clause to veto it.

Greinke also had the Brewers on his no-trade list, but he was willing to waive it to stay with a team in the midwest, and to go to a team that now has a real chance to make the playoffs.

Greinke is signed for two more years, at $13.5 million per season, an extremely reasonable contract for a 27-year-old pitcher who has already won a Cy Young Award. The money wasn't a problem for the Royals, but the timing was. Kansas City may have the most talented farm system in the game, but the Royals' top prospects will only start to arrive in the major leagues next summer. It's likely that the Royals won't be ready to contend until at least 2013, and Greinke had made it known that he wasn't willing to extend his stay in Kansas City if the team continued losing.

Now, if the Royals are right on the players they asked for and got from the Brewers, they've gone even further towards building a team that could contend in the American League Central within a few years.

Because of Fielder, a highly motivated owner and a fan base that allowed the Brewers to average 34,278 a game last year (more than the Mets or Braves, among others), Milwaukee was in a totally different situation. The Brewers want to win now.

Already this winter, they had traded top prospect Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays to get Marcum. Now they've given up even more from their farm system, but landed a pitcher who could be at the top of their rotation for years to come.

While a Greinke to the Brewers deal caught many by surprise, it probably shouldn't have.

The Brewers in recent years have been an aggressive team, most notably when they traded for CC Sabathia to spur the 2008 run for the playoffs. While the Sabathia trade cost the Brewers a few players who were considered among their top prospects at the time, getting Sabathia and thus ending the playoff drought helped change the storyline in Milwaukee.

Now, this trade should change it even more, especially since Greinke -- unlike Sabathia -- will be a Brewer for more than just four months.

What else does the Greinke trade do? Well, it takes another top pitcher off the already-thin market. The Rangers, who already missed out on Cliff Lee, now know for sure that they won't be getting Greinke. Same goes for the Yankees, although they had determined that it didn't make sense to try to bring Greinke to New York.

Greinke has dealt with a social anxiety disorder, so there's a real chance New York wouldn't have suited him. Milwaukee is much more like Kansas City, an environment in which Greinke thrived -- at least until the Royals' persistent losing dragged him down.

The Greinke trade was first reported by Bernie's Crew, a fan blog on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:18 am

Brewers go for it with Greinke

Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 1:28 pm

Brewers go for it with Greinke

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:02 pm

Brewers go for it with Greinke

Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:24 pm

Brewers go for it with Greinke

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 6:46 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: December 20, 2010 6:34 pm

Brewers go for it with Greinke

OK, so this guy has had one good year, so for that he becomes a savior of a team? 

I wonder if they even realize its silly comments like this that make so many people dislike Yankees fans in general.

Zach Grienke is an ace.  The same kind of ace that Yankee fans were GUARANTEEING two weeks ago would be a Yankee stud to start the 2011 season.  The Brewers significantly upgraded their rotation.  The Yankees rotation is the worst its been as long as I can remember.  One proven ace, one promising young vet who struggled as the season wore on, and three complete question marks.  No wonder the Yankee fans were clamoring for Grienke - until he went elsewhere.  Then it becomes "he was never all that good".  Despite the Cy Young Award and winning record for a terrible club since managing his social anxiety disorder.  If he were a Yankee today all you'd hear is about how he'd be competing with Sabathia for the 2011 Cy Young and teaming up to carry the club in a playoff series.

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