The Brewers Take The Angels Offer And Deal Zack Greinke To Los Angeles
BY: Dic Humphrey
Shortly before Friday’s series opening game against the White Sox, the news broke that the Angels had completed a deal with Milwaukee to obtain starting pitcher Zach Greinke. Greinke was considered by many to be the best pitcher available on this year’s trade market once the Phillies removed Cole Hamels from consideration by re-signing him to a record seven-year, $144 million contract.
Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin said earlier in the week that Greinke would be traded. Greinke is eligible for free agency after this season, and he reportedly turned down a Brewers’ offer to stay of more than $100 million. Once that happened, Melvin had no choice, but to trade his ace. Milwaukee is 10 games out in the Wild Card race and has six teams to pass in the standings to get there. It’s not going to happen! It was thus a no-brainer for Melvin to make a deal for Greinke now and receive more in return than the draft choice compensation he would realize if he kept Greinke and watched him sign elsewhere this winter.
Jayson Starke reported on ESPN Friday morning that four teams were in on Greinke. The three besides the Angels were the Rangers, White Sox and Braves. Milwaukee was said to be especially looking for a shortstop and received Jean Segura from the Angels, their number one minor league prospect. Milwaukee also received AA pitchers Johnny Hellweg (#7) and Ariel Pena (#14). Undoubtedly, this trade is a very desperate move for the Angels, who at one point this week had actually slipped below the Athletics into third place. It’s a deal they needed to make to have a chance to get into the playoffs. It is also a deal that has the advantage of keeping a quality pitcher away from Texas.
The Rangers’ offer reportedly was shortstop prospect Leury Garcia and minor league pitchers Justin Grimm (AAA) and Cody Buckel (AA). Garcia is a product of the Rangers’ South American scouting efforts. He is a very good athlete and a good prospect that is blocked in the Rangers’ system by Elvis Andrus in Arlington and Jurickson Profar in Frisco, thought by many to be the number one minor league prospect in baseball. Ron Washington said last weekend that Profar is not up for discussion in trade talks this July. Everyone else is on the table, but for a two month rental of Greinke, the Rangers were not willing to include either of their next two prospects – left-handed pitcher Martin Perez and third baseman Mike Olt.
Candidly, the Rangers have the pitching to win the division without making a trade. The real goal in seeking a top starter is for the playoffs; a starter that can battle head-to-head with the likes of Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia. Cliff Lee is such a starter, and two years ago, his three playoff wins catapulted the Rangers into the World Series. Last year, the Rangers did not have such a top starter, but still not only got to the World Series, but should have won it.
Right now, the Rangers’ starting rotation consists of All-Stars Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish, followed by Derek Holland, Roy Oswalt and Scott Feldman. Colby Lewis isn’t coming back, but Martin Perez, who has won two Major League games already this season in spot starts, is also on the roster; and Ron Washington hinted strongly this week that Alexi Ogando would be given a shot at the rotation. Ogando by the way pitched three innings Friday night against the White Sox in an effort to stretch him out to handle starter innings. Finally, Neftali Feliz, a member of the rotation coming out of spring training has made two minor league re-hab starts, and is expected to be ready to re-join the team in the next two weeks.
Angels’ manager Mike Sciosia has indicated that Greinke will make his Angel debut on Sunday. There had been some thought to holding him back from his scheduled starting day to face the Rangers next week. Texas by the way has flip-flopped Roy Oswalt and Scott Feldman in their rotation order. Feldman will now pitch Sunday’s finale against the White Sox, while Oswalt will start in Monday’s opener against the Angels.
There are still three more shopping days until the trade deadline for Jon Daniels. He’s proven creative and resourceful in the past. Actually the way the team is playing now, he might be better off giving his offense a shot in the arm with a significant position player. It’s virtually a certainty that Daniels will make a trade for help on the Major League roster. The only question is how major that trade will be.