Royals Trade Zack Greinke To Brewers In Blockbuster

Zack Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young winner, has been traded to the Brewers for four players, including Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar.

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Zack Greinke Trade Includes Jeremy Jeffress

The big Zack Greinke trade is all official now. Earlier, we gave you details covering five of the players and the included cash. Now, via Keith Law, we get the sixth and final name.

The fourth player headed from the Brewers to the Royals is Jeremy Jeffress. Jeffress is a 23-year-old righty who just broke into the Majors last season as a reliever. The upside is that he features a high-90s fastball, a sharp slider, and excellent closer potential. The downside is that he has tested positive for marijuana three times, which is a cause for concern, but if he has those issues behind him, he should be able to help the Royals immediately.

So, in total:

Going to Milwaukee:

Zack Greinke
Yuniesky Betancourt
$2 million

Going to Kansas City:

Lorenzo Cain
Alcides Escobar
Jake Odorizzi
Jeremy Jeffress

Greinke will slide into the front of the Milwaukee rotation with Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum, and Betancourt will take over at shortstop unless the team continues to explore the market. Meanwhile, Cain should take over in center field for Kansas City - bumping Melky Cabrera to the bench - while Escobar will take over at short. Odorizzi is a few years away, but Jeffress should be up in the Royals bullpen soon, if not immediately.

Carlos Gomez will serve as Milwaukee's center fielder with Cain leaving the organization.

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Zack Greinke Trade Nearly Happened With Nationals

Early Sunday morning, it was confirmed that the Royals and Brewers had agreed to a Zack Greinke trade that sends a handful of young players Kansas City's way while molding Milwaukee into a strong contender. But while Greinke wound up a Brewer, there was a time at which it looked like he could end up a National instead.

The Royals and Nationals were far along in trade negotiations, and Jon Heyman says that reliever Drew Storen and infielder Danny Espinosa could've been a part of the package. However, Greinke's contract with Kansas City gave him limited no-trade protection, and he invoked his rights in turning down a deal to Washington. That killed any possibility of a trade going down.

And so he's off to the Brewers instead. Greinke also had Milwaukee on his list of teams to which he could block a trade, but he chose to accept this one, as he considers the Brewers a better bet to contend than the Nationals. He's also said to like the city, for whatever that's worth.

The Nationals will now presumably turn their attention to trying to sign free agent Carl Pavano.

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Zack Greinke Trade Signals Brewers' Intent To Make A Run

Late Saturday night, there were rumors of a developing Zack Greinke trade between the Brewers and Royals, and early Sunday morning, those rumors were confirmed. For the Royals, this is just another step along the path towards rebuilding, as Greinke was unloaded for young players who may not make a significant impact for a few seasons.

For the Brewers, though, this is a clear signal that they're looking to make a playoff run in the short-term. Greinke is under contract for the next two seasons, and stands to be incredibly difficult for a team like Milwaukee to re-sign. In exchange, the Brewers gave up three or four potentially critical components of their future core.

But while Greinke's around, he'll help form a dominant top of the rotation, along with Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum. The Brewers came into the offseason looking to add some pitching, and they've managed to add two of the better pitchers in baseball to a staff that already included one legitimate young ace.

The other key bit of information here is that first baseman Prince Fielder has one remaining year of team control before he enters free agency. The Greinke trade will quiet the Prince Fielder trade rumors as the Brewers will keep their team together. Fielder will walk next winter, but the Brewers are willing to deal with that outcome as their attention is focused on making the playoffs.

Whether their offseason additions help them measure up with the Reds and Cardinals - and Phillies - has yet to be seen. But the Brewers have clearly made themselves considerably stronger, and Miller Park promises to have one raucous environment in 2011.

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Zack Greinke Trade Brings Back Four Players From Brewers

We now have a better idea of the details of the Zack Greinke trade swung by the Brewers and Royals this weekend. And, sure enough, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt is part of the deal.

Headed to Milwaukee are Greinke, Betancourt, and $2 million - intended to cover the buyout of Betancourt's 2012 option. And going to Kansas City are shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, pitcher Jake Odorizzi, and a player to be named later.

Greinke, obviously, was the best remaining pitcher available on the market, and he'll help form a very strong top three in the Brewers rotation, along with Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum. Betancourt isn't much of an addition, as he struggles to get on base and doesn't play great defense, but he'll fill the hole in the infield in the short-term.

As for the return, Escobar is a 24-year-old one-time top prospect who has thus far struggled to hit in the Major Leagues, with a .298 OBP. However, he can make contact, there's potential room for growth in his bat, and he plays strong defense. He stands to be the Royals shortstop for the next five years.

Lorenzo Cain is also a 24-year-old, and he spends most of his time playing center field. He has struggled with injuries and has only limited exposure to AAA and the Majors, but he runs well and, like Escobar, he covers a lot of ground in the field while showing signs of development at the plate.

Jake Odorizzi is a 20-year-old righty who was the 32nd overall pick in the 2008 draft. He was arguably the top pitching prospect in the Brewers organization, and although he's a long ways away, he posted excellent numbers in A-ball last season and stands to make it as a middle-rotation starter or a power reliever.

The player to be named later is the final piece, and could end up being Jeremy Jeffress - another one of the Brewers' top young pitchers. However, that is currently unknown.

The Royals didn't bring back any standout studs for Greinke, but they did manage to make at least three additions up the middle as they set themselves up for a run in a few years, once their youth has developed.

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Yuniesky Betancourt Likely Part Of Zack Greinke Trade

If there is a particularly good thing about Zack Greinke being traded to the Brewers, it is that Yuniesky Betancourt might be on the way out of Kansas City as well.

Bernie's Crew, the blog that originally reported the Greinke trade, is also reporting that the Brewers would get Betancourt and an extra $2 million in the deal. For the Royals, that would seem like addition by subtraction.

Betancourt was long renowned as a talented shortstop, but has yet to produce anything commensurate with that alleged talent on the field. In a terrible 2009 season split between the Mariners and Royals, Betancourt posted an on-base percentage of .274, rapped out just 32 extra-base hits, and played miserable defense, compiling negative 1.7 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs. He was marginally better in 2010, but still had a sub-.300 on-base percentage and failed to produce even a full Win Above Replacement for the Royals.

If Greinke had to be moved — and he likely did, after hiring a new agent and demanding a trade — then the Royals were already dealing from a position of weakness. Knowing that, pawning Betancourt off on an unsuspecting team seems like a coup.

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Royals Trade Zack Greinke To Brewers

Zack Greinke had his resurgence after battling anxiety issues framed as a small-market triumph in 2009, as he posted a 2.16 ERA for the Royals and was named the AL Cy Young winner. Now, he'll be tasked with propping up another small market rotation.

Greinke has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar, and pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress.

For the Brewers, swapping prospects and young talent for an top-notch pitcher definitely seems like a push to contend in 2011. It will be Prince Fielder's last season in Milwaukee, in all likelihood, and Greinke arguably becomes the best pitcher in the NL Central — at worst, he's in the top three with Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals — as the Brewers' staff ace.

For the Royals, though, the deal seems more like giving away a cherished player for a chance at reloading in a few years. Our Royals Review doesn't like the deal, and thinks general manager Dayton Moore is filling needs rather than maximizing return.

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