Results tagged ‘ Zack Greinke ’

Braun fired up about Greinke trade

The Brewers’ remodeled starting rotation may not have the star power of the Philadelphia Phillies or the World Series rings of the San Francisco Giants. But it’s good enough to have outfielder Ryan Braun & Co. thinking like a legitimate contender. 
“We were looking to get better this offseason, and I don’t think we could have possibly accomplished more than we did,” Braun said Sunday afternoon. “I don’t think anyone thought this was possible without trading somebody like Prince [Fielder].” 
Fielder is still a Brewer for 2011, and so are the Brewers’ four other 20-home run hitters from last season: Braun, outfielder Corey Hart, third baseman Casey McGehee and second baseman Rickie Weeks. General manager Doug Melvin found other ways to make two major additions to the starting rotation. 
The team on Sunday added 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke in a stunning trade with the Royals that came two weeks after the Brewers acquired Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays. Greinke and Marcum will join Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and probably Chris Narveson in a new-look rotation. 
Gallardo, Greinke and Marcum are all right-handers who started on 2010 Opening Day. Wolf and Narveson are left-handers who finished last season strong for the Brewers. 
For backup, the Brewers have left-hander Manny Parra, who has been slow to reach his potential and will probably begin the year in relief. The team has also been working this winter to re-sign another lefty, Chris Capuano, who looked good last season after returning from his second career Tommy John surgery. With Greinke in the fold, the Brewers can continue their cautious approach with starting pitching prospects like Mark Rogers, Amaury Rivas and Wily Peralta. 
The  big-league group isn’t as star-studded as the Phillies’ top four of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, and the Brewers’ foursome doesn’t have World Series rings like the Giants’ Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner. But it has Braun more than a bit excited for the start of 2011. 
“Excited would be a severe understatement,” Braun said. “It just shows the players, the fans, once again the commitment to winning from our ownership and management. It’s really exciting. We just got one of the best players in baseball [in Greinke] and I can’t wait to get started.” 
The Brewers have struggled since the free agent departures of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets after the 2008 season. In 2009, Brewers starters combined for a 5.37 ERA, dead last in the 16-team NL. In 2010, after spending big for free agent Wolf, they improved only marginally to a 4.65 ERA, 15th of 16 NL teams. 
“There’s no doubt that we’re far better heading into the season than we have been in any of my five years with the team,” Braun said. “You’ve seen recently the value of starting pitchers and how difficult it is to acquire them, and when that rare opportunity comes to acquire something this good, which almost never happens, you have to do what you can. That ownership and management made this move is a huge statement to us players and the fans. 
“There’s so much that has to happen between now and then, and looking at it on paper and going out and performing are two different things. But it certainly looks good.” 
Braun had seen rumors of the Brewers checking-in on Greinke this winter, but he didn’t expect a deal to get done. 
“We were able to acquire two great starting pitchers [in Greinke and Marcum] without trading Prince,” Braun said. “That’s remarkable. It’s pretty amazing.” <
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Greinke trade official

Two and a half years ago, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin raided his farm system to lure CC Sabathia from Cleveland and declared, “We’re going for it.” Now Melvin is doing it again. 
Two weeks after he traded his top position player to the Blue Jays for right-hander Shaun Marcum, Melvin pulled off a Saturday night shocker by sending four more premium young players to the Royals for 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke. 
The teams made the deal official on Sunday afternoon. 
Melvin paid a high price to get Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and cash — reportedly $2 million to offset the buyout of Betancourt’s 2012 club option. Kansas City receives the Brewers’ starting shortstop in Alcides Escobar, their potential starting center fielder Lorenzo Cain, a former first-round Draft pick in right-hander Jeremy Jeffress and Milwaukee’s top pitching prospect in right-hander Jake Odorizzi. 
It’s quite a quartet of young talent. Escobar and Cain are both 24 and big-league ready. Jeffress is 23 and might have been in the Brewers’ bullpen on Opening Day. Odorizzi is 20 and pitched the first eight innings of a no-hitter last season at low Class A Wisconsin. 
“This trade is a credit to our scouting and player development staff as their hard work and judgment provided us the talented prospects that Kansas City will be receiving,” Melvin said in a statement. “I also appreciate the support of ownership in making this deal.”
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Brewers moving toward Greinke trade

A source with knowledge of the talks said the Brewers were indeed closing in on a trade for Kansas City ace Zack Greinke, but that the deal was not yet complete. 
Word that the Brewers were close to acquiring Greinke for a package of prospects first surfaced on “Bernie’s Crew,” a blog hosted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel but independent from the newspaper. It said Milwaukee would send shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Jeremy Jeffress to the Royals for Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and cash. 
Then the website, which regularly covers the Brewers, chimed in and, citing a source, said the Brewers would also send their top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi to Kansas City in addition to the three other players. In this version, Milwaukee would get another Major League player in return in addition to Greinke. 
Whether there was fire behind this hot stove smoke remained unclear late Saturday night. Multiple Brewers officials, including general manager Doug Melvin, did not respond to messages from Greinke’s new agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, the firm that represents Brewers outfielders Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, also did not respond to messages. 
Joshuha Kusnick, the agent for two of the Brewers players included — Cain and Jeffress — said he had not been informed of any pending trades. 
If the trade indeed is being discussed, then Greinke and some or all of the other players involved would have to undergo physical exams. Greinke would also have been asked for his approval, since his no-trade clause is believed by Melvin to let him block deals to Milwaukee. 
Greinke, 27, has two years and $27 million left on his current contract. There’s no doubting his talent; he won the 2009 American League Cy Young Award while going 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA. In a more disappointing 2010, Greinke was 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA. 
The Brewers and Royals did talk about Greinke earlier this offseason but Melvin sounded pessimistic during the Winter Meetings earlier this month that a deal could be struck, both because of the Royals’ asking price and because of Greinke’s no-trade clause. 
But that was 10 days before Greinke switched agents, from SFX to Casey Close and Berry of CAA, and reportedly requested a trade. Royals general manager Dayton Moore confirmed the change in agents to but declined to comment on the report about Greinke’s demand. 
However, Moore did cast doubt on the Royals’ chances of signing Greinke to a contract extension. 
“It’s no different than it was in 2008 before we signed him long-term,” Moore said. “You’re evaluating opportunities. We were fortunate to be able to sign him long-term in the winter of 2009 based on where the market is and where it’s going. 
“It’s going to be incredibly difficult for us to sign him to another long-term contract, therefore it makes perfect sense for us to evaluate opportunities to potentially move Zack in the right type of deal — one that gives us back players that fit in the very talented group that we have on the horizon.”
The Royals’ discussions with other clubs have been ongoing, but Moore was believed to be seeking a bundle, notably premier young players for the middle of the field — particularly shortstop and center field — and the mound.
In the proposed deal with the Brewers, they are filling those needs. Escobar, 24, was Milwaukee’s starting shortstop in 2010 and is expected to be better offensively than he was as a rookie, when he hit .235 with a .288 on-base percentage and 10 stolen bases. Cain debuted in the Majors last season, is 24 years old, a fine center field defender and batted .306 in his first 147 at-bats with a .348 on-base percentage. 
The pitchers reportedly heading to Kansas City are two of  the best in the Brewers’ system. Right-hander Odorizzi may be the team’s top arm, a supplemental first-round pick from the 2008 Draft who went 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA at low Class A Wisconsin in 2010. Jeffress, a first-round pick from ’06, has been slowed by multiple suspensions for marajuana use but took a step up the prospect ladder in 2010, when he converted to relief and finished with a 2.23 ERA in the Minors and a 2.70 ERA in 10 appearances in the Majors. 
It would be a heavy price to pay for Milwaukee, but Melvin has been focused all winter on ways to improve his starting pitching staff. Since Philadelphia signed free agent left-hander Cliff Lee, the focus on starting pitching available via trade has zeroed in on Greinke.  
The Brewers already traded for one 2010 Opening Day starter this month, picking-up right-hander Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays in exchange for top prospect Brett Lawrie, a second baseman. Marcum joined righty Yovani Gallardo and left-hander Randy Wolf atop Milwaukee’s rotation. 
The Brewers also have lefty Chris Narveson at the back end of the rotation but Melvin made it clear last week that he was still looking for more. Brewers starters were next-to-last in the National League last season with a 4.65 ERA after ranking dead last in 2009.  
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