Zack Greinke: Milwaukee Brewer


So it's finally confirmed:  The Milwaukee Brewers have traded Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jeremy Jeffress to the Royals for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt.  There is so much to say about this that I don't even know where to start.  This could get really messy and out of order.  I'm going to try to prevent that by using bullet points.

  • Most people probably know how good Zack Greinke is, but let's review a little bit.  Greinke, over his career has posted a 3.82 ERA, a 3.59 FIP, a 3.76 xFIP, and a 3.51 tRA.  And he's more talented than all those numbers.  Honestly, Zack Greinke might be the most physically talented pitcher in all of the Major Leagues.  Just look at his 2009 Cy Young season:  2.16 ERA, 2.33 FIP, 2.59 tRA, 9.5 K/9, 0.43 HR/9 and 9.4 WAR.  He's an absolutely incredible pitcher and the Brewers are lucky to have him.
  • As far as the prospects go, if you read around you'll find most people (like Marc Hulet) are very underwhelmed with the return the Royals are receiving.  I'm pretty surprised that this package was able to get a deal done as well.  None of the players Dayton Moore got are sure things in any sense of the word.  Alcides Escobar hasn't shown that he can come close to hitting ML pitching, Jeremy Jeffress has talent but seems more likely to end up in the bullpen, Jake Odorizzi has big potential, but hasn't pitched above A ball and young pitchers are always very risky, and Lorenzo Cain probably won't be a star player.  Obviously we don't really know any of the other offers that the Royals received for Greinke, but I would be pretty shocked if they couldn't have topped this.
  • The Brewers farm system has to be the worst in the league now.  Here are Brewerfan.nets top five prospects according to their latest Power 50 rankings, in order: Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Jeffress, Jake Odorizzi, Zach Braddock, Lorenzo Cain.  Braddock is no longer a prospect and the other four guys have now been traded this offseason.  The next five, after them are Mark Rogers, Wily Peralta, Amaury Rivas, Kyle Heckathorn and Kentrail Davis.  The first three all have back of the rotation potential and Heckathorn probably has around middle-rotation potential.  Kentrail Davis is probably the only player left that could potentially become a star.  It's a good thing the Brewers have two first round picks and, hopefully, a supplemental pick in next years draft.  They need to start rebuilding the farm system for the future.
  • I think Milwaukee might just be the best place for Greinke to play.  His anxiety issues are well documented, so playing in big cities like New York or Boston doesn't seem like a good option for him.  Milwaukee is the smallest market in the Major Leagues and it's fans have always been very patient and receptive of it's players.  I mean, it took until Jeff Suppans last year before fans really started to boo him.  
  • On that note, I was surprised to find out that the Brewers were on Greinke's no trade list.  Maybe he didn't see Milwaukee as a contender at the time but does now?  Since it apparently didn't take any extra money to make him waive it, he must not have to big a problem with coming to the Brewers anymore.
  • The Brewers report to spring training February 16 (thanks, Heather).  Just 59 more long days.
  • Gallardo
    Wolf
    Davis
    Suppan
    Narveson

    was the Brewers rotation on opening day 2010, with a bunch of starts over the year from guys like Parra, Bush and Capuano.  Now it's

    Greinke
    Gallardo
    Marcum
    Wolf
    Narveson

    which means our fifth starter has put up an FIP of 4.22 each of the last two seasons.  That's an impressive turnaround by Doug Melvin.
  • Don't get your hopes up that this means Greinke will perhaps sign an extension with Milwaukee.  He's one of the best pitchers in the NL and will be looking for a big, long term contract.  Over $100MM, certainly.  The Brewers still have guys like Rickie Weeks and Shaun Marcum that they want to extend and Casey McGehee, Jonathon Lucroy, John Axford, Chris Narveson, Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo that are all going to be making much more money in the next five years.  I don't think the money can be there to keep Greinke around for longer than the two years he is already signed to.  It would be nice, but it will be a nice ride having Greinke here at all.
  • The Brewers have to be the favorites in the NL Central now, and maybe second to the Phillies in the entire NL.  I know the Reds won last year, but I still think the Cardinals are better than they are and now I think the Brewers are better than the Cardinals. 
  • I've said this before and I'll say it again--I really hope that Chris Dickerson gets the chance to start in center field for the Brewers with Cain gone.  He has a .267/.356/.403 career line and is projected by Bill James for a .271/.363/.422 line next year.  He could actually be an offensive asset as opposed to Carlos Gomez, who can't hit to save his life.  In addition, according to UZR, Dickerson has been a slightly better defensive player as well.  In their OF careers, Gomez has a 14.5 UZR/150 and Dickerson has a 15.7 UZR/150.  Hopefully Roenicke sees this and hopefully Dickerson proves himself with a big spring training.  Dickerson might very well end up being just as good as, if not better than, Lorenzo Cain in the long run, in my opinion.
  • Shortstop, on the other hand, is a problem now.  Betancourt has some pop in his bat (16 HR last year) but other than that is a terrible, terrible baseball player.  He's possibly the worst defensive player in baseball at perhaps the most important defensive position.  He can't get on base, either.  There are free agents available, like Orlando Cabrera, Nick Punto and Edgar Renteria.  I would much rather pay for a year of any of them than have Betancourt starting at the position for a year.  The Brewers are clearly "going for it" this year, so with upgrades available, they should pursue those options.  Yuniesky is Carlos Gomez at shortstop except without the defense.  He's the Jeff Suppan of shortstops.
  • I don't know what the Brewers plans are at Shortstop for the future, now.  Josh Prince and Zealous Wheeler are probably the best prospects the Brewers have at the position.  Though Prince stole 44 bases in high A last year, he also had a batting line of .233/.287/.282.  Wheeler is a better hitter with a .273/.380/.394 line in Huntsville last year, but from what I've heard he still needs to work on his defense.
  • Brewers players seem to be extremely excited about this deal.  This team is going to be fantastic to watch next year.
  • Zack Greinke's career batting line is .167/.167/.375.
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