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Brewers release Ariel Pena

The trade thread for Zack Greinke both grows and reaches dead ends...

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MLB: Milwaukee Brewers-Media Day
The Greinke deal has no first gen players left
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The first generation of the Greinke trade is officially over now. Yesterday, the Brewers announced the release of Ariel Pena in a series of moves.

The last player acquired by the Brewers when Zack Greinke was sent to the California Angels in the July 2012 trade has been released. With Johnny Hellweg granted his release last November (he was signed by the San Diego Padres, but released this past June) and the trade last off season of shortstop Jean Segura to the Arizona Diamondbacks, evaluation of the Greinke acquisition and subsequent trade becomes more and more convoluted.

Pena pitched in ten minor league seasons all told, compiling a 66-50 record in 229 games (173 starts). The big right hander (6’3", 250) never was able to exhibit enough control to be consistently successful, walking 4.5 per nine in his minor league career. He posted a 1.39 career WHIP with nearly a strikeout per inning.

Ariel pitched 27 innings in the majors, going 2-1 with a 5.59 ERA (5.25 xFIP). This year at AAA Colorado Springs, he allowed 12.2 hits per nine innings, and 7.6 walks per nine. He allowed seven homers. There is no word as yet as to whether Pena will hook up with another team.  While some of his struggles could be attributed to pitching in Colorado Springs, the numbers have shown a downward trend in the past few years and the Brewers saw no future in the organization for the 27 year old righty.

While there are no "direct descendants" from that Greinke trade, the trade thread lives. Segura (along with Tyler Wagner) went to the Diamondbacks, and in return the Brewers acquired Chase Anderson, currently in the Brewers rotation, infielder Aaron Hill, and prospect infielder Isan Diaz.

Hill was traded in July to the Boston Red Sox and received right handed pitcher Aaron Wilkerson and infielder Wendell Rijo. Wilkerson effectively replaces Pena in AAA, where his stats look only slightly better than Pena’s (6.00 ERA, 1.5 WHIP in 30 innings). Rijo is at high A Brevard County and has not hit as of yet (.143/.204/.165 in 100 at bats).

Isan Diaz is the best hope that the trade ends up on the plus side for the Brewers. The 20 year old is in low A Appleton this year, and has hit his stride after a slow start (.276/.357/.486) and leads the league with 16 homers. He projects at second or third in the majors, and will undoubtedly move up the Brewers’ prospect list even with the recent additions to the minor league system. Todd Rosiak of MJS has good information on Diaz here.