If anyone was unsure of the Brewers motivation in trading for Zach Greinke, General Manager Doug Melvin makes it crystal clear:
“This is what I call a ‘now’ trade, getting a player of his ability,” said Melvin, who indicated the trade was “90% complete” last night and finished this morning.
“I feel like I’ve acquired a CC Sabathia except for two years and maybe longer. It feels good. It was a costly trade. We gave up a lot of good, young players. This is a credit to our scouting and player development people to have the kind of young players it takes to make a trade like this.”
That’s right folks. The Brewers are going for broke.
After struggling to find serviceable starting rotation pieces over the past two seasons, the Brewers have acquired two very good starting pitchers (Greinke and Marcum) in the span of a couple of weeks. While the Brewers had to give up a few high potential prospects in Lawrie, Cain, and Odorozzi, the short term benefit was too great for the Brewers to pass up.* Slugging first baseman Prince Fielder and talented (but oft-injured) second baseman Rickie Weeks are eligible to become free agents after the 2011 season. With neither expected to return, the Brewers window of contention is rapidly closing. The Greinke trade gives them an opportunity to not only challenge the upstart Reds and star-studded Cardinals for NL Central supremacy, but also seriously contend for a shot at a World Series championship.
* As Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra points out, if the “Dooms Day” scenario occurs with Fielder and Weeks both leaving, the Brewers could look to restock their farm system by trading Greinke away either after the 2011 season or at the 2012 trading deadline. Greinke’s no trade clause will no longer be a factor after this season.
One other interesting anecdote to mention regarding this trade is that the Brewers were one of the fifteen teams named on Greinke’s no trade list. While Melvin tries to spin Greinke’s trade approval in a positive light (“It's an indication he wanted to come to Milwaukee…”), there’s a chance it had more to do with his agent’s relationship with the Brewers than his desire to play in Milwaukee. Regardless of how a decision was made, Greinke is in Milwaukee, and the Brewers are better because of it.