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Thank You and Goodbye, Zack Greinke

Game Two of the 2011 NLDS.
Game Two of the 2011 NLDS.

I'm more upset at losing Zack Greinke than I was when Prince Fielder officially became not-a-Brewer. Is that strange? Maybe. Zack Greinke was here for 1.5 years. Prince Fielder was in the organization for nearly ten years. Fielder was the heart of the Brewers, Zack Greinke was an import.

Both were expected to leave. Maybe I'm more upset about Greinke's departure because I had less time to prepare. With Fielder, there was, what? Three full years of knowing the Brewers would not be able to re-sign him? With Greinke, we had two days to prepare after it was confirmed that he would, in fact, be traded. Greinke sent us on these ups and downs. There were some signs that he might sign a contract extension with the team. Then those were off. Then back on again. Then it looked like he would be traded. Then negotiations opened up again. Then he was traded.

I didn't even get a chance to react when it happened. I found out that Zack Greinke was traded at 12:10 A.M. last night. I was at work (as seems to be the case when significant Brewers news happens) and checked my e-mail really quick and saw one from Kyle about Greinke being traded.

I had to sit there for a minute after reading that. It wasn't necessarily shocking. I had been sitting on twitter the past couple of days searching "greinke" and scouring the results that came up waiting for something to happen. This should have been a "well it finally happened" moment. Instead, it was a "wow, he's actually gone" moment.

Greinke was someone that many people, including me, wanted for lord knows how long. Years before he actually became a Brewer. For the most part, that seemed like a dream. Sure, it would be great. It would be great to have a lot of players. After his contract extension and his 2009 season, the possibilities of trading for him looked even dimmer. Until he was traded to Milwaukee. And he was great while he was here. He was fun, he was talented, and he seemed to actually like it here.

You always hear about the players in major sports who don't want to go to Wisconsin. They think it will be boring, that it's a backwoods state. They want to go to Miami or New York or Los Angeles. It's not just Wisconsin that they don't want to go to, but it often comes up as one of the least desirable locations.

Not Zack Greinke though. Maybe he's just "saying all the right things©". He always seemed like a straight-forward person, though, and he came across as being genuine when he said that he truly liked it here. That's something that is absolutely endearing to fans in Wisconsin. It makes it even harder to see him go.

Still, kudos to Doug Melvin. He turned two months of Zack Greinke into a wonderful group of prospects. He traded a hefty price to attain Greinke. But he got (potentially) two years of him. Melvin somehow got almost as good of a package for two months of Greinke. I'm not sure I could tell you anything about the prospects that you haven't already read by this point. Kyle's extra mug has plenty of links where you can read what a bunch of people think about Jean Segura, John Hellwig, and Ariel Pena.

In one trade, the Brewers got a new shortstop that they so desperately needed and two very interesting pitchers.This is pretty much the best case scenario for a Greinke trade. Profar, Andrus, Olt, Teheran--those were all completely unrealistic pipedreams. This deal was the high-end of what I expected the Brewers to receive for Greinke. Both pitchers could turn out to be complete steals for the Brewers, and Segura is a top prospect, especially in the Brewers system. In my opinion, I think Segura is the number one prospect the Brewers have right now. He has, by all accounts, the tools to be an excellent hitter and a good defensive shortstop. I'm thrilled to have him in the organization.

Even if Segura doesn't stick at shortstop, the Brewers will need someone to play second base in a couple of years. Rickie Weeks is only signed through 2014 and could be a trade piece in the future. I'm inclined to believe that Segura will stay at shortstop for the Brewers, though. The Brewers have dealt with Yuniesky Betancourt's defense and Cesar Izturis's bat and a bunch of cruddy scrap pieces the last two seasons. There isn't a high bar set at the shortstop position in Milwaukee right now. Segura should be a welcome change when he eventually joins the major league team.

Speaking of him joining the major league team, I'm glad the Brewers are keeping Segura in the minors for now. There's no need to call him up. He has played eight games above Double-A ball. I don't like when teams move players straight from Double-A to the majors. For some it works out, but there is no need to rush Segura. The Brewers are not competing this season, the Greinke trade further proves that. It's better to suffer through another couple months of Izturis and allow Segura to further his development. I'm expecting the team to move him up to Triple-A in a couple weeks if all goes well in Huntsville and for him to start 2013 in Nashville. He'll probably then be a June call-up, though I wouldn't be opposed to him getting a full year in Triple-A either.

But let's not fool ourselves into thinking there is a good chance that Zack Greinke will make this pot even sweeter and sign with the Brewers in the offseason. That would be the absolute ideal, but it won't happen. If the Brewers were able to come to an agreement with Greinke, they would have. They won't magically have more money to offer, especially when 29 other teams can now make offers and officially outbid Milwaukee. Zack Greinke has always come across like the kind of guy who would take less money to play somewhere he likes. But not $30,000,000 less. That's the potential difference in a contract the Brewers could/would offer and what another team probably will.

Zack Greinke seems like a great and smart guy. He truly like living in and playing for Milwaukee. He's also not going to take an enormous discount to come back. It's not even an issue of whether it would be smart for the Brewers to sign him to a big contract (it's probably not). It's just a simple truth that the Brewers will not be able to offer as much money as another team.

It will be easier for everyone to ignore any talk that Greinke would consider signing with the Brewers in free agency or that the two sides might have talks. Getting your hopes up will just lead to unnecessary disappointment in this case. It's not a fun truth, but it is the likely truth.

Regardless of if he ever returns, thank you to Zack Greinke. Thank you for your huge contributions in the Brewers pennant win last season, as poorly as it ended. Thank you for 49 starts. Thank you for a 3.67 ERA. Thank you for a 1.021 WHIP. Thank you for a 9.9 K/9, a 2.2 BB/9 and a 0.8 HR/9, for the FIP and the xFIP and the WAR and the ups and the downs. Thanks for being fun to watch and fun to hear about. Thanks for one year, seven months, and nine days of being a Brewer.

Zack Greinke: Milwaukee Brewer will probably never happen again. That's something that's going to take a while to get used to.