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Today In Brewer History: Happy Anniversary, Zack Greinke

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On this day one year ago, the Brewers acquired Zack Greinke from the Royals in exchange for Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and the willingness to accept Yuniesky Betancourt. I think it's fair to say this move was one of the most notable turning points in recent Brewer history.

Before December of 2010, the Brewers looked to be getting ready to rebuild in 2011. It was widely expected that the team would trade Prince Fielder and go young for a few years while waiting for another window to contend. The Marcum trade earlier in the month and this deal changed everything, though, and put the Brewers in position to pursue a playoff berth immediately.

Even in what most of us would likely consider a disappointing first season as a Brewer, Greinke posted a 3.83 ERA and set a new franchise record with 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. His season got off to a late start due to a rib injury but Greinke still pitched 171.2 innings last year and tied a career high with 16 wins.

Greinke enters the 2012 season likely to become a free agent after the season (at the moment he has no agent, making it difficult to negotiate an extension), but right now it looks like the Brewers probably won this trade. Here's a quick look at the players they sent in exchange:

  • Lorenzo Cain returned to the minors and spent nearly the entire 2011 season in AAA.
  • Alcides Escobar continued to be a very good defensive shortstop but showed little improvement offensively, hitting .254/.290/.343.
  • Jeremy Jeffress regressed, was sent to the minors in May and posted a 5.50 ERA between AA and AAA.
  • Jake Odorizzi still could eventually be the best player in the deal, and split 2011 between high A and AA as a 21 year old.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to: