After dropping three straight to the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend and blowing three leads on three consecutive nights against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Milwaukee Brewers are taking the shape of the trade deadline “seller” many presumed they would become over the past few weeks. Now a wholesome 13 games back of the division lead, the Brewers are now in the process of fielding calls from pitching and hitting-needy contenders.
Here’s the latest trade rumors involving Milwaukee as next Tuesday’s non-wavier trade deadline approaches.
Thursday, July 26, 3:00 PM CT — Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin made it official this afternoon, telling Bob Nightengale of the USA Today that right-hander Zack Greinke “will be dealt” before the July 31 trade deadline. In the same story, Melvin went on to say that Greinke would be able pitching in a large market.
“He’s been in a small market here. A small market in Kansas City. He’s always said he enjoyed it, but he wants to take a look at everything out there.”
Furthermore, Melvin added:
“If you’re in a pennant race,” Melvin said, “this guy is a difference maker. He can go deep into games. He’s never been on the DL except for a basketball injury [breaking a rib in February 2011]. He’s very athletic. And he’s great in the clubhouse.”
It is also worth noting this tweet sent by FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, where he was told by one source that Greinke could even be dealt before Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster.
One industry source believes Zack Greinke will be dealt before Ryan Dempster. Dempster to #Dodgers possibility remains in limbo.—
Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 26, 2012
The market for Greinke at this juncture seems to include the Braves, Angels, Rangers and White Sox.
Thursday, July 26, 11:40 AM CT — It has been announced (h/t MLB Trade Rumors) that the Brewers have designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment, as they have reportedly activated Jonathan Lucroy from the 15-day disabled list earlier today. Similarly, Milwaukee has optioned shortstop Jeff Bianchi to triple-A Nashville and have additionally selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Jim Henderson.
Henderson was a former 26th-round draft pick of the Montreal Expos back in 2003 out of Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tennessee. He posted a 1.69 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 1.21 WHIP in 35 relief appearances with triple-A Nashville while garnering a strikeout rate of 28.7 percent and walk rate of 11.3 percent this season. He was extremely efficient when inheriting base-runners as a reliever, as noted by an impressive left-on-base rate of 87.4 percent.
Thursday, July 26, 10:00 AM CT — Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin affirmed to WTMJ radio that he is indeed fielding calls from clubs. Not surprisingly, most of the calls have come from contenders looking to add right-hander Zack Greinke. He told Greg Matzek this:
“We’re taking phone calls,” Melvin told WTMJ’s Greg Matzek. “We’ve been working here. I’m in the office in the ‘war room’ already. It’s a busy week. At this point we have to listen to opportunities to improve the ball club for the future and still try to win ball games now.”
Melvin also went on to say that there is “no guarantee” that he [Greinke] would be moved before his next scheduled start on Sunday against the Washington Nationals. There have been no contract negotiations between Greinke’s representatives and the club since they had reportedly offered him a nine-digit contract extension last week.
For what it’s worth, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also added on Tuesday that a Major League source told him that Greinke is “as good as gone.”
Not thought to be expendable at the onset of the season, Brewers’ third-baseman Aramis Ramirez continues to draw trade interest from contenders in need of a stable, veteran bat.
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports suggested back on July 12 that the Los Angeles Dodgers could be in the mix for the 34-year-old third-baseman’s services, though that they would prefer San Diego’s Chase Headley if a potential deal were to reveal itself.
If Brewers decide to sell, Dodgers have identified Aramis Ramirez as possible 3B upgrade. Prefer Chase Headley, however.—
Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) July 12, 2012
The Dodgers have received little production from their third-base platoon this season, at least offensively, ranking among the worst in baseball in many categories. Most notably has been their inability to hit for average or power, posting a .248/.321/.355 line this season with a combined isolated power of just .107.
If the Brewers are in fact ready and willing to deal Ramirez to Los Angeles, they’d love to “turn him into” pitching prospect Zach Lee, or at least that’s what ESPN’s Jim Bowden reported on Monday.
Brewers would love to be able to turn Aramis Ramirez into Zach Lee of Dodgers then turn Greinke into Mike Olt of the Rangers but unlikely—
JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 24, 2012
Baseball America ranked Lee as the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect prior to the season. Los Angeles’ asking-price in return for the 6’4″, 190-pound right-hander is relatively unknown. It may or may not take another of Ron Roenicke’s roster players to woo them into completing a deal.
Update: The acquisition of Hanley Ramirez likely means the Dodgers will no longer pursue Ramirez.
To no surprise, the market for Francisco Rodriguez is incredibly bleak. The New York Mets were previously considered to have interest in re-acquiring the veteran reliever but probably won’t have much interest any longer.
The same goes for the San Francisco Giants. The National League West division leaders had some interest in dealing for Rodriguez, but no longer do after watching him perform underwhelmingly these past few days in Philadelphia, according to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler.
Giants still looking for bullpen help. Had some interest in K-Rod...until they saw him the other day. And they don't see Broxton as answer.—
(@DKnobler) July 25, 2012
Outside of his abominable performance, Rodriguez’s lofty 2012 salary could be what’s pushing teams away from dealing for him. Due to receive $8 Million over the course of this season, the Brewers may not be willing to eat a majority of what’s remaining on his one-year deal. If that’s the case, teams looking for bullpen help probably won’t be willing to deal a decent prospect in return for his services.
After completing a gem of a performance Tuesday night to the tune of allowing just one earned run to cross home on three hits over seven complete innings and a home run of his own, Zack Greinke is now officially the hottest trade-market commodity out there.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Chicago White Sox “want Greinke badly”. However, given the state of their farm system as we speak, a deal seems unlikely at best
Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2012
He also goes on to say that the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, and even the Los Angeles Dodgers are among the most likely to acquire the right-hander at the deadline. Scouts were extremely impressed with how he performed Tuesday night, as FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reported.
“He was very poised,” one scout told my colleague Ken Rosenthal. “He had very good mound presence, very good focus. I think he’s playing to get out of there, go pitch in the playoffs and make a boatload of money.”
The scout said he has worried in the past — as many observers have — that Greinke becomes bored and disengaged at times, particularly when his team is playing poorly. That wasn’t an issue Tuesday, when Greinke looked “outstanding” and “very athletic” in the field.
Milwaukee offered Greinke a nine-figure deal last week but nothing came to fruition.
The fact that Zack Greinke is set to miss his next scheduled start — after taking the mound three games in a row — doesn’t mean teams interested in his services are taking a break from pursuing him.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Chicago White Sox now have Greinke on their trade radar.
“The first-place White Sox have established themselves as the favorite in the A.L. Central to the surprise of many, and they are said to be hoping to make another second big splash on the trade market. Their trade for third baseman kevin Youkilis has been a major hit. The Braves, Angels, Rangers, Orioles and other also are expected to be in the Greinke derby.”
But do the White Sox really need Greinke’s services? FanGraphs states that Chicago’s starters have combined for 9.6 WAR, which ranks third-best among all American Leauge starting rotations. Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd and John Danks have all performed well this season, with the exception of Danks, who has not thrown a pitch in a Major League game since May 19, where he tore a tendon in his throwing shoulder. Philip Humer has filled in for him and his statistical yield has been underwhelming.
We will continue to monitor the situation as information becomes available.
The Milwaukee Brewers came into the 2012 season with high hopes of returning to postseason contention. Despite the farewell bid by former first-baseman Prince Fielder, management believed that they could still contend with the pieces left over.
Unfortunately, things haven’t turned out as previously thought. With the All-Star break upon us, Milwaukee sits at a disconcerting 39-44, seven games out of first place in the National League Central division. Injuries and severe under-performance have cast a shadow of doubt over the immediate future of the organization, leaving many to wonder whether or not the club should add a piece or two for a second-half run or sell their assets to reboot for subsequent seasons.
A definitive answer to that question is still a ways off at this juncture. General manager Doug Melvin and principal owner Mark Attanasio have claimed they would like to see where they are in the standings at least a week after the break to decided the club’s intentions this month.
Still, rumors surrounding the club won’t cease to exist, especially given the amount of talent the club could potentially deal away. Here, we’ll keep you updated as those rumors continue to surface to go with a bit of reaction and analysis to go along with each.
What Could Zack Greinke Yield in a Trade?
Posted: Tuesday, July 10 at 11:56 a.m. CT
It’s been a topic up for discussion for a while now: What might the Brewers get in return for Zack Greinke via trade?
I tried my best to answer that very question a few days back, but that was well before a report surfaced that the Baltimore Orioles had a serious interest in Greinke, and also before the Atlanta Bravesappeared to be doing any more than their due-diligence in scouting the Brewers’ right-hander. Now, both clubs are probably the front runners in the sweepstakes.
Carson Cistulli, a writer for the highly-acclaimed baseball site FanGraphs.com, published a piece Monday morning trying to answer the question I alluded to earlier:What would Greinke yield in a trade? He attempted to answer that question by looking back at past trades involving high-priced starters and what the team dealing them received.
Here’s a short snippet of that Cistulli had to say:
Inspecting the four deals above, it appears as though, of late, top-end starters have been more likely to yield a number (in fact, four exactly, every time) of B and C-type prospects — as opposed to just one or two high-end type. Indeed, the Jimenez deal — with two B+ prospects, in Pomeranz and White — appears to have been the biggest return of those considered here.
It is currently unknown what the Brewers are looking in return for Greinke, but based on the deals that Cistulli revisited, Milwaukee may not get the high-profile prospect they’re looking for in return. Throw in the fact that the team receiving Greinke will not receive a compensatory draft pick should he walk in free-agency, and a potential deal this summer is becoming increasingly unlikely.
New York Mets Interested in Francisco Rodriguez
Posted: Saturday, July 7 at 12:00 p.m. CT
While Zack Greinke has dominated Milwaukee’s trade headlines and will from here on out, he is not the only veteran hurler with a potential to be moved via trade this month.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post claimed last Tuesday that Francisco Rodriguez highlights the shortlist of relievers that the New York Mets would be interested in acquiring prior to the July 31 deadline. Among other things, Davidoff claims that the combination of Rodriguez’s poor performance this season together with the fact that the Mets won’t be scared to take on his 2012 salary , that this would be an “excellent fit”.
In 41 appearances this season, Rodriguez has garnered a 4.06 ERA and 1.51 WHIP while harboring a career-low strikeout rate of 20.3 percent. His subpar production has yielded him an unsightly -0.1 WAR rating, according to FanGraphs.
Should the Mets make a move for Rodriguez?
The Mets’ bullpen ranks among the worst in all of baseball this season, most notably in their league-high 5.04 ERA. In terms of raw value, New York’s bullpen has accumulated just a 0.3 WAR rating, enough to rank seventh-worst among all Major League bullpens. Clearly, they need help.
While Rodriguez has been a shell of his former self this season, he could still provide stability and a veteran presence as the Mets’ closer. They could then move Frank Francisco to the setup role and have a formidable one-two punch late in games.
The only thing that will hold this deal up is Milwaukee’s asking price. They’re on the prowl for MLB-ready prospects, and the Mets don’t have a whole lot to speak of.
Baltimore Orioles “Going Hard” for Zack Greinke
Posted: Saturday, July 7 at 9:15 a.m. CT
In a year where he could virtually guarantee himself a Matt Cain-esque contract once he hits the open market this winter, Zack Greinke has been spectacular for Milwaukee.
In 17 starts this season, the 28-year-old free agent to-be boasts a 3.08 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, striking out nearly a batter per inning. In terms of raw value, Greinke holds true to the second-highest WAR (wins above a replacement-level player) rating among all big league starters at 3.5. Many teams were interested in acquiring him before the season, but it now seems as though every contender wants a piece of Greinke-fever.
As I wrote last week in a collaborate piece with a few other columnists here on B/R, the Braves, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox and Blue Jays seemed like the most logical destinations for Greinke through a trade this summer. Since then, though, another team has reportedly joined the party.
According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles appear to be “the most aggressive suitor for Greinke” at this juncture. The Orioles are still very much in contention in the AL East thanks to a surprise outburst from their offense, currently just five and a half games out of first place in the division.
Should the Orioles make a push for Greinke?
The Orioles came out of the gates in scorching fashion, receiving tremendous production from their rotation, bullpen and offense. However, they’ve witnessed a progressive decline in productivity across the board with each month. If this persists, they probably won’t have the stamina to keep up with the Yankees for the division lead.
Obviously, trading for Greinke seems like the ideal thing to do if you’re general manager Dan Duquette. Baltimore has a bevy of prospects they could deal to Milwaukee, potentially even shortstop Manny Machado. The key to this deal will be whether or not they think they can re-sign Greinke in the offseason. If they feel they can, then this deal looks like a perfect fit for both parties.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles are believed to be the frontrunners in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes as the July 31 trade deadline nears.
The Baltimore Orioles will make a run at Brewers star Zack Greinke, sources say, and some now believe the Orioles and Atlanta Braves loom as the most likely to land Greinke in trade.
Of course, it’s very early, so early Greinke isn’t even known to be available yet. The Brewers are likely to wait to see how they fair against division competition in the games following the All-Star break before deciding whether to sell, a source said.
How the Brewers’ first few series following the All-Star break turn out could ultimately decide their intentions with respect to Greinke this summer. They are currently eight games out of first place in the division with the first game of a three-game weekend set against the Houston Astros coming Friday night.
Stay tuned for more news and rumors surrounding Greinke in the subsequent hours.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cardinals could have the potential to be a player in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nears. Though he remains unsure as to whether the Brewers would be willing to trade Greinke within the division, Rosenthal believes that returning to the state of Missouri — where he started his career with the Kansas City Royals — would be “particularly intriguing.
Here’s exactly what Rosenthal had to say:
Greinke, who began his career in Kansas City, would be particularly intriguing — he likely would welcome a trade to St. Louis and a chance to sign with the Cardinals long term. It is not known whether the Brewers would be willing to trade Greinke within the division, but they should be if the deal would work to their benefit.
Currently just two and a half games out of first place in the National League Central division, the Cardinals’ starting rotation has actually been one of the best in all of baseball this season. According to FanGraphs, St. Louis starters have combined for an 8.3 WAR (wins above replacement) rating, good enough for sixth-best among all Major League rotations and third-best among all those in the National League. Adding Greinke — who currently maintains the highest WAR rating (3.5) among all MLB starters — could be the ideal situation.
How could this deal be possible?
For starters, the Cardinals maintain a slew of prospects that could potentially lure Milwaukee into dealing Greinke much sooner than later. Baseball America ranked St. Louis’ system as the 10th-best among all minor-league systems. Leading the way are RHP Shelby Miller, third-baseman Zack Cox, and hot-hitting outfielder Oscar Taveras. It is not known whether or not the Cardinals would be willing to deal any of those players in return for Greinke.
Last week, I wrote a collaborative piece with a number of other columnists to see what the Brewers could get back should they deal Greinke. The Rangers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Braves and Red Sox seemed to be the front-runners in the sweepstakes, but if what Rosenthal just recently reported is found to be true, it could be the Cardinals who ultimately nab Greinke prior to or at the deadline.
As Major League Baseball’s annual July 31 non-waiver trade deadline draws nearer by the day, the Milwaukee Brewers continue to question whether or not they should become buyers or sellers come the final day of July. Currently treading water at 34-41, the Brewers haven’t been a complete disaster this season, however, they haven’t looked like a club destined for a postseason berth, either.
Easily the most pressing issue facing GM Doug Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio this summer is the trade status of Zack Greinke, who through the first half of the season has performed nothing short of Cy Young-worthy. His fabulous production this season will consequently offer tremendous trade value as the summer persists, and despite the numerous reports saying Milwaukee will opt not to trade him, you have to believe that if the Brewers continue to slip in the standings that they’ll have no other choice but to deal their ace.
If that’s the case, then the question obviously becomes: Which teams could be interested in trading for Greinke and what would they be willing to relinquish in order to attain his services?
I recently spoke with a few featured columnist on Bleacher Report in the hopes of sorting out a few potential deals that could go down as the trade deadline nears.
New York Yankees
Yankees Receive: Zack Greinke
Brewers Get: RHP Dellin Betances, SS Eduardo Nunez, OF Slade Heathcott, C Francisco Cervelli
Yankees FC Doug Rush‘s take:
With this trade, the Brewers would get a backup catcher who is MLB-ready, and a super utility infielder/outfielder who is also MLB ready with a bat. With Betances, they get the Yankees #2 prospect who, if he ever straightens out, can be very good. With Heathcott, they get a young outfielder they could use in maybe 2 years.
The Yankees just scouted Greinke’s latest start today. With the injuries to Sabathia and Pettitte, looking into Greinke makes a lot of sense.
My take: The news that the Yankees scouted Greinke in his last start shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, as the immediate and distant futures of CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are in deep question after suffering injuries. Needless to say, New York will need to add another guy to their rotation of Greinke’s caliber if they’re to stay atop the AL East.
If the Brewers aren’t able to lock up Greinke between now and the All-Star break, I think they’ll look to deal him away. Unfortunately for the Yankees, I think they’d rather keep him and run the risk of not signing him in the offseason that take this deal up. Betances’ monster 6’8″, 240-pound frame has a ton of potential as so does Nunez, but I don’t think Melvin will have much of an interest in Heathcott or Cervelli.
Chances this deal goes through: Not likely
Braves Receive: Zack Greinke
Brewers Receive: SS Tyler Pastronicky, RHP Todd Redmond, OF Jordan Parraz, RHP Zeke Spruill
Braves FC Chris Stephens‘ take:
With the loss of Brandon Beachy for the year, and possibly next year, the Braves are in dire need of starting pitching, especially considering the performances of Mike Minor and Randall Delgado thus far.
Greinke would be a great addition to the Braves rotation, but there could be a few snags – Greinke is a free agent after this year and will likely carry a high pricetage to re-sign. Because of that, giving up a bunch of talented prospects for Greinke will be hard to come by. The Braves definitely don’t want to get burned like they did in the Mark Teixeira trade, so they’re going to be careful here.
Prospects and/or other guys the Braves would consider relinquishing would be Triple-A Gwinnett’s SS Tyler Pastronicky, P Todd Redmond and/or OF Jordan Parraz, and Double-A Mississippi’s Zeke Spruill. Guys on the big-league team that could be considered are Anthony Vavarro and Jose Constanza. Obviously, not all of these guys will be involved in a trade, but they’re some of the ones I believe they’ll consider letting go. Julio Teheran, Evan Gattis, Todd Cunningham, Christian Bethancourt and Sean Gilmartin won’t be involved in my opinion.
My take: The loss of Brandon Beachy to Atlanta’s rotation was an unfortunate one, as he was in the midst of quite possibly a Cy Young-worthy season. Now, the Braves are stuck trying to decided whether or not Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens will be able to carry the load for their rotation for the remainder of the season.
If the Braves do decided to acquire a veteran power-arm before the deadline, Greinke will likely be atop their wish-list. Given that Atlanta’s farm system has a number of high-ceiling prospects, the Brewers could very well be enticed by a potential deal. Problem is, if the Braves aren’t willing to deal youngsters such as Julio Teheran or Christian Bethancourt, then I just don’t see a viable reason for Milwaukee to pull the trigger — the Brewers will be looking for at least one top-tier prospect in return for Greinke.
Chances this deal goes through: Not likely
Rangers Get: Zack Greinke
Brewers Get: 3B Mike Olt, RHP Neil Ramirez, RHP Justin Grimm
Rangers FC Lance Reaves‘ take:
Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez are probably the two most untouchable prospects in the Rangers organization. Their farm system is very pitching heavy. A starting pitcher that might satisfy the Brewers is 23-year-old Neil Ramirez, who is considered one of the team’s top prospects with a high upside. A guy who could be ready to contribute fairly soon is pitcher Justin Grimm. Another young player with a lot of promise is Mike Olt, a third baseman who is having a great season for the Rangers’ Double A affiliate.
However, even for a player of Greinke’s caliber, it’s very unlikely Texas would be willing to offer both Ramirez and Olt in a deal. Centerfielder Leonys Martin might also be mentioned, but that will have a lot to do with Josh Hamilton’s contract situation.
My take: While the Rangers are absolutely loaded in the bullpen, the injury to Colby Lewis (who was the only real strikeout threat featured in their rotation outside of Yu Darvish) was a wretched one for the AL West front-runners. They may have the ability to ward off the surging Los Angeles Angels for now, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re already in the works to upgrade their rotation — possibly through the acquisition of Greinke.
From the Brewers’ vantage point, anything short of annexing at least one top-caliber prospect through trading Greinke should be considered unrealistic at this juncture. As Lance mentioned, both Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez are all but untouchable. However, I do believe that Milwaukee would be tempted by the prospect of acquiring Mike Olt, who’s been nothing short of a slugger during his stay in the minors. Throwing in two arms that are fairly big-league ready such as Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm might actually be enough to get something done.
Chances this deal goes through: Somewhat likely
Boston Red Sox
Red Sox Get: Zack Greinke
Brewers Get: RHP Anthony Ranaudo, SS Jose Iglesias, OF Jackie Bradley
Red Sox FC Benjamin Klein‘s take:
The Boston Red Sox starting rotation isn’t in the best shape. The starters have been inconsistent, injured or just flat out bad this season—with possibly the exception of Felix Doubront—but somehow they’re still in the playoff hunt. They really need a front-line starter badly and could be interested in Zack Greinke. Greinke will enter free agency at the end of the season so Boston GM Ben Cherington would have to be sure he could lock him up long-term if a deal were to happen.
If I’m Cherington, I’d be willing to give up three impact prospects from the minor league system—possibly Anthony Ranaudo, Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley. I would really have to make sure that Greinke had interest in a contract extension with the Red Sox before completing a deal, though.
My take: Similar to the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox starting rotation has suffered through injuries, and that unfortunate reality could be the incentive they need to try and complete a deal with Milwaukee in return for Greinke.
As with many teams that would love to annex Greinke through a trade, the problem is that Boston won’t part ways with the two top-tier prospects in their system. Shortstop Xandar Bogaerts and RHP Matt Barnes would be two of the names Melvin would love to add to his system, but the odds that Cherington parts ways with either are slim to none. Consequently, settling for a lesser prospect in Jose Iglesias or Anthony Ranaudo doesn’t seem like something Milwaukee would be interesting in doing.
For now, it looks as though the Red Sox and Brewers must look elsewhere to fulfill their needs.
Chances this deal goes through: Slim to none
Toronto Blue Jays
Blue Jays Get: Zack Greinke
Brewers Get: OF Anthony Gose, RHP Deck McGuire, RHP Chad Jenkins
Blue Jays FC Stephen Brown‘s take:
The Blue Jays have become desperate for starting pitching following the injuries to potential All-Star Brandon Morrow and youngsters Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison as well as the general ineffectiveness of Ricky Romero. If you take a look at their probably starters for their series against the Angels it includes Carlos Villanueva and Aaron Laffey two guys who were nowhere near the rotation at the beginning of the season.
Greinke would be a great asset for the Blue Jays and they have the assets to acquire him. There are some pieces that would most likely be untouchable (CF Anthony Gose, C Travis D’Arnaud, SP Noah Syndergaard) but there are also many plausible scenarios.
OF Travis Snider and Eric Thames are two of the main pieces that would be included in a trade. Neither are a top tier prospect anymore but definitely an extra piece that could be added.
The Jays have a glutton of SPs like Deck McGuire, Chad Jenkins that would have to be involved. Drabek’s injury makes him untradeable at this point but a young SP would most likely be the key piece.
My take: This deal makes a whole lot of sense, honestly. Not only does it satisfy Milwaukee’s need for at least one top prospect to go with a couple other average ones, but it doesn’t severely deplete a Blue Jays organization that many consider to be the most talent-laden farm systems in Major League Baseball.
Needless to say, Toronto needs help with their starting rotation. As Stephen mentioned earlier, injuries to both strikeout machine Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek — among others — has left their rotation destitute of a veteran, power-type arm. Greinke would certainly bring that to John Farrell’s club.
I believe this deal will hinge on the willingness of Toronto to include Anthony Gose. He’s a premier centerfield talent that the Brewers would jump all over if given the chance, as the Nyjer Morgan-Carlos Gomez experiment has failed epically this season and neither will be around for much longer.
Chances this deal goes through: Somewhat likely
This summer, the Milwaukee Brewers find themselves in a tough spot.
Traditionally a team that looks to acquire talent at the July 31 trade deadline in preparation for post-All Start game push toward the postseason, the Brewers — who currently find themselves at fourth place in the NL Central, six and a half games behind the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals — could find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum come July if they aren’t able to make headway on the rest of the competition. If that’s the case, then there’s a real possibility for Zack Greinke to become available.
Scheduled to hit the market as an unrestricted free-agent this winter, Grienke has enjoyed a tremendous 2012 campaign. In 11 starts, the 28-year-old boasts a 3.46 ERA (2.04 FIP), 1.32 WHIP while striking out over 25 percent of the competition. His dominance has directly affected his free-agent value, leading many to believe that the Brewers aren’t likely to re-sign him at the end of the season.
There are plenty of reasons as to why the Brewers should be inclined to deal away their unquestioned ace at or before the July 31 trade deadline, but here are the five most important.
Greinke’s Talents Are in High Demand
Greinke’s preponderance this season has been truly astounding. Aside from the basic statistics I mentioned earlier, Milwaukee’s apparent ace has posted some pretty impressive sabermetric statistics.
Just to name a few, Grienke has improved his LOB% (left on-base percentage) from 69.8% in 2011 to an impressive 72.1% this season. He’s also increased his GB% (ground-ball percentage) from 47.3 % to a career-best 51.9% and has also boosted his IFFB% (infield fly-ball percentage) from five percent last season to a career-mark of 12.8%.
Throw in the fact that Grienke holds true to a 2.4 WAR (wins above replacement) that ranks best among all National League starters, and it’s easy to see why Grienke’s talents are in such high demand this season. The Brewers should act on his widely unparalleled production this season by dealing him this summer to a pitching-needy contender.
Greinke’s Tremendous Value Presents Unique Chance to Restock the Farm
The Brewers came into the 2012 season with one of the most shallow farm systems in baseball, with only a handful of youngsters with any real hope of making an impact for Ron Roenicke in the near future. While improvements have been made, they still have a long way to go before they can return to the upper-echelon of minor league systems.
If there’s anything to be learned from recent blockbuster trades, it’s that there is much young talent to be had. Given the fact that Greinke has been, well, the single most valuable starter in the National League thus far this season, I’d say there’s a legitimate chance for the Brewers to pick up a few solid youngsters from a desperate contender.
With the MLB Draft this week and the trade deadline approaching, Milwaukee has a unique chance to re-tool their farm system. Opportunities such as that don’t come around a whole lot, so the Brewers should act on Greinke’s value now in preparation for the imminent and distant future.
If Resigned, Shaun Marcum Would Be a Solid No. 2
In the event that Greinke were to be dealt away this summer, it would all but guarantee a re-signing of Shaun Marcum this winter. While Marcum is no Greinke, he certainly wouldn’t be a much of a downgrade.
From a production standpoint, the 30-year-old grizzled veteran righty is in the midst of one of his best seasons. Generally not known for his strikeout capacities, he’s upped his strikeout rate from 19.2% in 2011 to an impressive 23.1% this season. Moreover, Marcum has increased his LOB% nearly two points from last season — up to a very solid 75.1%.
No one will argue that Marcum is as complete a pitcher as Greinke is based off an all-things-considered production standpoint. However, given the fact that he isn’t likely to demand as much money as Greinke this offseason, his overall value as Milwaukee’s No. 2 starter wouldn’t be tremendously lower than Greinke’s.
Matt Cain’s Extension Puts Brewers in Tough Spot
When the San Francisco Giants made 27-year-old Matt Cain the richest right-hander in MLB history by signing him to a six-year, $127.5 Million contract extension through the 2016 season, it immediately put the Brewers in a situation they probably didn’t want to be in.
Many have speculated that the deal would set precedent for Greinke, another decorated right-hander, once he hits the free-agent market this winter. Already recuperating from the loss of Prince Fielder last winter, a small-market team such as the Brewers with a ton of contractual money committed toward next year isn’t likely to have the dough necessary to sign Greinke after Cain’s extension.
Owner Mark Attanasio may want to try to re-sign Greinke this winter, but it would be in the best interest of the franchise if he tried to deal him away at or near the July 31 trade deadline. Shelling out that kind of money can hamper an organization for years.
Are the Playoffs Really Within Reach?
The Brewers have been one of the more aggressive teams in the trade market over the past few seasons, and that in large part comes from the fact that they’ve been in the hunt for a playoff berth more often than not. This season, that isn’t the case. In fact, it’s far from it.
At this point last season, Ron Roenicke and company boasted a 31-26 record (including an MLB-best .750 winning percentage at Miller Park), just two games back of first place in the division. Their offense was raking at a World Series-caliber level and they were able to get some pretty good outings from their starters and relievers.
After Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Brewers now find themselves at 24-30, six and a half games out of first place. They’ve received mediocre production out of the cleanup spot in the lineup — unlike last season — and have gotten unstable and often unpredictable outings from their starters and bullpen.
According to ESPN.com, the Brewers have roughly an 11 percent chance at making the postseason, which ranks fifth-worst among all National League clubs. Anything is possible, especially in baseball, but ask yourself this question: Are the playoffs really within reach? If not, it’s only more incentive to deal Greinke.