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Zack Greinke to the Brewers

by Matt Smith

This was an unexpected story to wake up to this Sunday morning.  Bernie’s Crew blog was reporting that the Milwaukee Brewers had agreed a trade with the Kansas City Royals in which Zack Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young winner, will head to the Brew Crew.

I picked up the story via Twitter over breakfast and was struck by the lack of any comment from the usual Hot Stove sources: Buster Olney of ESPN, Ken Rosenthal of Fox, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, and MLB Trade Rumours.  Those guys don’t miss much, which put the story into a bit of doubt. 

That doubt was even fuelled by the original story.  While the title stated “Report: Brewers Acquire Zack Greinke”, the opening paragraph was a disclaimer:

“**Disclaimer:  This is a rumor that has not yet been confirmed from within the organization, but I feel comfortable enough with the information and the source to publish this rumor.  Please just keep in mind that this is only a rumor and should be treated as such until further notice.**”

Jim Breen, the blog’s author, felt confident enough in his source to put his blogging neck on the line and it now looks like his instinct was correct.

In fairness to Olney, Rosenthal, Heyman and their ilk, this story came out late on Saturday night U.S. time.  When I looked at it this British morning, those guys would have been asleep (in fact this proves that they do sleep, which was in some doubt beforehand.  They often seem so ubiquitous that I thought they lived in a 24 hour, coffee-fuelled existence).

Peter Gammons tweeted about twenty minutes ago that the deal is in place pending a medical. In between checking MLB.com just before starting to write this and checking it again just now, the story has become the main feature on the official website.

So that looks official to me.  That’s a great scoop for Jim Breen and the Bernie’s Crew blog and a fantastic deal for the Brewers.

Greinke will join Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and the newly-acquired Shaun Marcum to form a vastly improved rotation.  That makes me think that the Brewers will hold on to Prince Fielder now, rather than trade him with one year left on his contract.  The Brewers have given up several young players in recent days (if this Greinke deal does indeed go through without a last minute hitch), but the two first round draft picks they would get for Fielder if/when he leaves as a free agent this time next year will start the process of re-stocking the farm system.

Meanwhile, the Brewers have just greatly increased their chances of competing for a postseason spot.  Back on 28 November, I was predicting Fielder’s departure and stating: “while the NL Central is far from the deepest division, you would think only a series of significant additions would really push this team forward in 2011 and such developments do not appear to be on the horizon”.

I‘m happy to be proved wrong on that.  The 2011 NL Central race just got even more interesting.

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Matt Smith December 19, 2010 - 5:17 pm

All the likely sources are chipping in on the trade now. I agree completely with Ken Rosenthal’s column about this.

The growth of internet sources about prospects has made people more aware of them, which is undoubtedly a good thing. But from teams undervaluing prospects and casually throwing them away for quick fixes, in some cases it’s moved too far the other way, overvaluing players who may never make it at the Major League level. Each player has to be judged on their own talents, and some guys really will be too good to be dealt (Strasburg etc).

However, if you’ve got a chance to get a genuine top player at a time when it could push you into the playoffs, generally you’ve got to take it.

That looks like what the Brewers have done here. Good for them.

Chico17 December 19, 2010 - 9:08 pm

Matt: As you know I am a Chicago White Sox fan. Grew up in the shadow of old Comiskey Park on the Southside streets of Chi Town. Have season tickets in our family still to this day. Love the Brewers in the National League. Wisconsin baseball fans are excited about the Greinke trade if it is true. Miller Park will find a very competitive team in 2011. As long as the Brewers beat the Cubs, we in Wisconsin and half of Chicago will be happy. Chico

Matt Smith December 19, 2010 - 10:23 pm

Hi Chico. It’s a great move for the Brewers. Ryan Braun’s comments today really sum up the excitement in Milwaukee. Greinke could be dominating in the National League and they’ve got the offence already.

MrLeam December 23, 2010 - 3:36 pm

As a Brewers fan I’m well caught up in the excitement of Greinke’s move to Miller Park. We’ve clearly made a big play to be in contention this year (and possibly next) at the expense of a now even more depleted farm system. A rotation anchored in Greinke, Gallardo, Marcum and Wolf is a big step up from the last couple of seasons, but the questions will be over the bullpen and our defence…


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