Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Greinke Deal

OK, I'll get around to the lunacy of the Werth, Crawford and Lee deals eventually but this deal is fresh on my mind so here goes.

First and foremost you have to say that the Brewers really did go balls out on this deal. They don't have much in the farm to give them hope for the future and Prince Fielder is likely gone at the deadline unless they really make a strong playoff push. Their window of opportunity is pretty much this coming season and having Greinke fronting the rotation with Gallardo and Marcum is a great place to start.

Of course they are still a very flawed team - how can a side with Carlos Gomez in the outfield not be? Yuniesky Betancourt's only real value is to fill the hole left by Escobar and I have no doubt it won't take long for the Milwaukee faithful to realise just what it was about Betancourt that had Mariner and Royals fans pulling their hair out in frustration. I personally can't remember a guy who combined the ability to make all the plays at short and the ability to just make countless bone-headed mistakes - and reading that sentence makes as much sense as relying on Betancourt as your every day shortstop.

The Royals side of the deal is a little bit more complicated. I can't help but feel that they got the short end of the stick to some extent. None of the parts they aquired are sure things to become stars. Escobar was a tad disappointing last year for someone who was so highly thought of out of the minors. Cain did alright after his call up but doen't really have any one impact tool he just does a bit of everything and looks more like a good fourth outfielder.

Odorizzi has plenty of potential (he was ranked the top prospect in the Brewers system by Baseball America) but is still a long, long way from the Majors. Word is he looks like Zack Greinke-lite but he has yet to show he can log serious innings which really lowers his floor.

Jeffress has an easy fastball that sits in the mid-90's but can get into the high-90's. He spent all of last year pitching in relief and with a big curveball that he struggles to command and little else in his arsenal it's easy to see why. In 10 big league innings he walked 6 and struck out 8 which are ratios (albeit in a limited sample size) that need drastic improvement.

Ultimately this deal was all about the future for KC. With a stacked system that looks like it should start baring fruit in 2012, Greinke was unhappy and unlikely to be around at that time and they cashed him in to fill some of the few holes that they had. They needed a shortstop and Escobar plays good D and should, at worst, hit enough to hold down a spot at the bottom of the order. They also don't have a natural centerfielder and Cain can hold that down even if he's not an ideal fit. They still need a catcher but they have plenty of bullets in the farm to try and make more deals.

So who won this deal? I think its hard to not say Milwaukee but KC's ambitions are all much more long term and it will be at least two years till we can see how things panned out for them.

Right now the Royals are still the worst team in the AL Central and have the best group of prospects in baseball, so nothing has really changed there. Milwaukee still have no genuine prospects on the horizon but it is easy to make a case that, coupled with the Marcum deal, they have the weapons to be right in the thick of a pennant race in 2011 which is a definate uptick from where they were. All they have to think about now is what to do with Prince Fielder.

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