Zack Greinke (pronounced grain-key), who won a Cy Young a few years ago, is moving from Kansas City to Milwaukee. The Brewers gave the Royals most of their farm system in return.
This is a win-now move by the Brewers. They are routinely among the league’s best offensive teams. But poor pitching has done them in the last two years.
Not this year. Before getting Greinke, they already traded for former Blue Jay Shaun Marcum this offseason. Adding those two to a rotation already featuring Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf means that 4 of the 5 starting pitcher slots will be filled by above-average players. There are teams with twice Milwaukee’s payroll that can’t boast that.
The defense will be downgraded a bit, since slick-fielding shortstop Alcides Escobar is now Royal. The Royals were kind enough to include his replacement, Yuniesky Betancourt, in the trade. But since he fields and hits poorly by big-league standards, the Royals were probably glad to be rid of him. Still, on net, the Brewers will probably give up far fewer runs than in recent years.
There is a price to paid for what should be a good year. The Brewers rosy 2011 prospects come at the expense of 2012 and beyond.
Prince Fielder’s contract expires at season’s end, and he’ll sign with a big-market team for big-market money. Second baseman Rickie Weeks may also leave for wealthier pastures. The farm system doesn’t look capable of replacing them. But for now, those big bats are here, and they’re entering their prime years.
Milwaukee’s window of contention will probably close after this season, so if they are going to earn any pennants to hang from Miller Park’s rafters, it has to be now. This is better than never.