Friday, July 27, 2012

Greinke traded to the Angels

The wait is over, Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin finally traded Zack Greinke.  I say finally because with how much the Brewers struggled this year it was not if but when Greinke would be traded.

There are a number of stats driven blogs that will break down how well the players the Brewers acquired from the Angels performed in the minor leagues.  I am more interested in comparing what the Brewers gave up to acquire Greinke with what the Brewers just got for Greinke.

Two years ago the Brewers acquired Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt (SS) for Lorenzo Cain (CF, 6'2), Alcides Escobar (SS, 6'1"), Jake Odorizzi (RHP, 6'2"), and Jeremey Jeffress (RHP, 6'1").

Melvin traded Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels for three high-level minor league prospects: Jean Segura (SS, 5'10"), John Hellweg (RHP, 6'9"), and Ariel Pena (RHP, 6'6").

Escobar is a better defensive shortstop than Segura (top rated Angels' prospect behind Mike Trout going into 2012) but Segura possesses a better upside offensively over Escobar so let's call that a wash.

Odorizzi and Jeffress projected about as good as Hellweg (4th rated Angels' prospect going into 2012) and Pena (9th rated Angels' prospect going into 2012) project currently so let's call that a wash as well, especially when you consider that Jeffress is one positive drug test from never playing major league baseball again.

That leaves Cain v. Betancourt for one season and Greinke for 49 starts.  With all due respect to Cain's potential, the Brewers would not have made the playoffs last season without Greinke so by the Allen Brown transitive property that makes the Brewers a winner.

Before we start anointing Melvin executive of the year, let's not forget that Greinke is a bona fide ace while the three players the Brewers got in return are prospects aka lottery tickets.

Earlier today I said the Brewers should keep Zack Greinke to give fans a reason to buy tickets or tune in every fifth day to see Greinke pitch.  Furthermore, I thought the Brewers should hold onto Greinke mostly because they would get a compensatory pick after the first round in the 2013 MLB Draft if they lost Greinke to free agency.

To quote the late, great Jerry Orbach: when I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.  I thought there was no way that the Brewers could get three top prospects for that might only amount to a two-month rental of Zack Greinke. Furthermore, according to the new CBA if the Angels lose Greinke to free agency this off-season, they get no draft pick compensation.

As I said above, a prospect is a lottery ticket but for the first time in my lifetime the Brewers actually have a number of lottery tickets (Tyler Thornburg, Wily Peralta, John Hellweg, Ariel Pena, Taylor Jungmann, Jimmy Nelson, and Jed Bradley) that look like they might actually pay off by pitching consistently in the big leagues in 2013 or 2014.  Add in that Segura should be the starting shortstop for the Brewers in 2013 at the latest and the Brewers have a ton of young, quality players.

The Brewers may never have a pitcher quite like the quirky Greinke ever again.  I will never forget Greinke saying he thought the Steelers would beat the Packers a week before Super Bowl XLV at Brewers On Deck in 2011, which was his first public appearance as a Milwaukee Brewer.

All of Greinke's quirks aside, much like C.C. Sabathia, Greinke will go down as one of the best "comet" pitchers in Milwaukee Brewers franchise history.  Here's hoping that sooner rather than later the Brewers get to cash all three of the lottery tickets they acquired today for Greinke.

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