Some things to read while honking the right horn.
Before I get to the Greinke stuff, here's this morning's breaking news: Ken Rosenthal is reporting the Brewers have reached an agreement with Craig Counsell to return for one more year. (FanShot) Terms were not immediately disclosed. This would seem to lend some credibility to the theory that the Brewers intend to play Yuniesky Betancourt as their primary shortstop: Counsell almost certainly isn't physically capable of playing every day at this point.
Today's big story is, of course, the trade bringing Zack Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million to Milwaukee in exchange for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi (FanShot). There's a ton of stuff about the trade to cover, so let's hit the bullet points:
- Greinke is due $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons before becoming a free agent.
- Tom Haudricourt notes that the Brewers have a good relationship with Greinke's agents (CAA Sports), but there's no talk of an extension at the moment. He reportedly wasn't interested in signing a long term deal to stay in Kansas City.
- Greinke rejected a deal that would have sent him to the Nationals before agreeing to come to Milwaukee. Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball called that move "understandable."
- Doug Melvin said he thinks coming to Milwaukee will "reengergize" Greinke and help him improve on last season's 4.17 ERA.
- There was some speculation that Jeremy Jeffress could be removed from the deal, but he's back in.
- Lorenzo Cain told Adam McCalvy he's motivated by the trade.
- TheJay has a preview of Greinke's physical.
- Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar used 2010 WAR to rank some notable NL rotations and has the Brewers ahead of the Cubs and Reds, but behind the Cardinals, Giants and Phillies.
- Also using WAR, In-Between Hops makes the case that the Brewers are now contenders in the NL Central.
- Corey Hart and Ryan Braun are excited.
- Jeff Sackmann says the Brewers "are contenders in 2011, and it will only take one or two solid moves to make them contenders again in 2012."
- The Ghost of Moonlight Graham welcomed the Brewers to the NL pennant race.
- Chris Cwik of FanGraphs said "The Reds and Cardinals should compete for the division, but the Brewers' off-season acquisitions will be tough to beat."
- Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker says "2011 will be a great year for baseball in Milwaukee."
- Jonathan Ede of Brewers Daily says he's "beyond excited for the next couple of seasons, but worried to say the least for what happens after that."
- Sully Baseball says that, by going all in, the Brewers are making an important statement to their fans.
- Joe Posnanski said the trade "seems to me very likely to be a huge victory for Milwaukee."
- Matthew Leach of MLB.com says the Brewers are a team to take very seriously this season.
- Bailey Stephens of MLB.com called the trade an "energizing move that sets up a tough rotation."
- Toby Harrmann of Brewerfan.net has the Brewer payroll projected at $85.47 million, not including Counsell.
- He also says the deal is great news for Caleb Gindl, who now seems likely to start in center field for Nashville.
- Miller Park Drunk isn't capable of words.
- Keep Turning Up The Heat! would like to make Doug Melvin GM for life.
- The Brewers Bar collected some Twitter reaction.
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo says the trade is pretty even for both sides.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball says the Royals did "ok, but not great" in the deal.
- Marc Hulet of FanGraphs said the Royals' return is "certainly quantity over quality."
- Baseball America says the Royals got "no sure-fire stars but two projected strong up-the-middle defenders and two power arms."
- Call to the Pen called it a "passable" deal for the Royals.
- Baseball Intellect says the Royals could have done better.
- Dave Brown thinks the Brewers should start untucking again.
- Tom Haudricourt says it's safe to assume the Brewers are done pursuing Carl Pavano.
The excitement of getting Greinke was tempered a bit, though, by the fact that it makes Yuniesky Betancourt the Brewers' likely starting shortstop on Opening Day. Let's go back to the bullet points for a closer look at him:
- Betancourt hit .259/.288/.405 for the Royals last year, which was actually a slight OPS improvement from his .272/.296/.393 career line.
- He's also widely regarded as one of baseball's worst defensive shortstops. Jack Moore says it's possible Rickie Weeks would be better.
- Lookout Landing suggested that he might be the worst regular on a contending team in 2011.
- The Mariners, who traded Betancourt away during the 2009 season, are still on the hook for $1 million of his salary in 2011.
Ryan Topp of Bernie's Crew says shortstop is a position that needs to be shored up if the Brewers are going to contend, and offers some options for doing so.
Elsewhere in likely weak spots, the Brewers avoided arbitration with Carlos Gomez (FanShot). He'll receive $1.5 million in 2011, a $400k raise from last year. Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to play Gomez in center and Betancourt at short.
Looking way too far ahead: Matt Garrioch of MLB Bonus Baby has his first mock draft for 2011, and he predicts the Brewers will select UConn outfielder George Springer and Texas high school pitcher/shortstop Ricardo Jazquez #12 and #15 overall, respectively.
The team's 2011 draft picks might be scouted by a former Brewer: The Kearney Hub has a story about one of the organization's new scouts, 2006 Brewer Drew Anderson.
Does all of this weekend's news have you reenergized and looking for an opportunity to help the team? The Brewers are hiring an Audio/Video Engineer.
Angels: Signed catcher Ryan Budde to a minor league deal.
Astros: Signed Bill Hall to a one year, $3.25 million deal.
Athletics: Claimed pitcher Philip Humber off waivers from the Royals.
Diamondbacks: Designed pitcher Roque Mercedes for assignment.
Giants: Signed pitcher Guillermo Mota to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Reportedly signed pitcher Ricky Nolasco to a three year, $26.5 million extension, avoiding arbitration.
Nationals: Signed pitcher Chad Gaudin to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Signed second baseman Matt Antonelli to a minor league deal.
Padres: Acquired shortstop Jason Bartlett from the Rays for relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos and two minor leaguers and signed second baseman Orlando Hudson to a two year, $11.5 million deal.
Rangers: Signed outfielder Endy Chavez, infielder Brian Barden and Seth McClung to minor league deals. (FanShot)
Red Sox: Signed reliever Dan Wheeler to a one year, $3 million deal.
Rockies: Signed first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league deal.
Royals: Designated infielder Lance Zawadzki for assignment.
Yankees: Signed pitcher Luis Vizcaino to a minor league deal.
As you might expect, the note linked above regarding Bill Hall and the Astros was written by Jack Moore.
Last week I mentioned that the Phillies had signed reliever Dennys Reyes to a one year deal. Reasons are unknown, but the deal has fallen through and Reyes remains a free agent.
It's relevant to nothing else we're discussing today, but I thought it was interesting so I'm throwing it in anyway: USA Today has a story on the Lancaster JetHawks (the Astros' affiliate in the California League) and their efforts to supply 98% of their ballpark's 2011 energy usage via solar power.
On this day in 1995, B.J. Surhoff signed a three year deal with the Orioles, ending his Brewer career. Surhoff spent nine seasons in Milwaukee, appearing in 1102 games and hitting .274/.323/.380. He still ranks among the top ten Brewers of all time in games played, hits, doubles and stolen bases.
- Wisconsin Timber Rattler Santo Manzanillo, who turns 22 today.
- Amaury Rivas, who turns 25 today.
- Chris Narveson, who turns 29 today.
- 1977-87 Brewer Cecil Cooper, who turns 61 today.
- Watertown, WI native Fred Merkle, who would have turned 122 today. Merkle played 16 major league seasons with the Giants and three other teams.
- 2004-05 and 2008 Brewer Russell Branyan, who turned 35 on Sunday.
- 1995 Brewer Joe Slusarski, who turned 44 on Sunday.
- 1992-97 Brewer Mike Fetters, who turned 46 on Sunday.
- 1985-95 Brewer Bill Wegman, who turned 48 on Sunday.
- 1976 Brewer Art Kusnyer, who turned 65 on Sunday.
- Huntsville Star Patrick Arlis, who turned 30 on Saturday.
- Milwaukee native Joe Randa, who turned 41 on Saturday. Randa played 12 major league seasons from 1995-06 with the Royals and four other teams.
- 1981-84 Brewer Roy Howell, who turned 57 on Saturday.
- Seattle Pilot and 1970 Brewer Steve Hovley, who turned 66 on Saturday.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm out of gumdrops.