Brewers Re-Stock System in Greinke Deal

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Zack Greinke #23 of th...

Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife

The Milwaukee Brewers traded ace starting pitcher Zack Greinke to the LA Angels over the weekend in what looks to be like a huge blow to the Texas Rangers playoff hopes. This is a big step in the rebuilding process of Milwaukee’s desolate farm system, and a declaration that Angels management and ownership are moving all their chips in the middle for 2012.

When Milwaukee acquired Greinke two seasons ago, they paid a very hefty price. Granted, they were in the middle of their best chances to bring home a ring. Kansas City Royals are already bearing the fruits of this trade, as they’ve seen the graduation of SS Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain. You also got a chance to see Jake Odorizzi, also acquired in the deal, start for USA in the All-Start Futures Game.

Escobar has already flashed his range and defensive ability and although he’s had to deal with injuries in 2012, he’s getting on base at a very healthy clip of .343 through 99 games.

Cain broke onto the scene in 2012 with the Royals after Melky Cabrera was traded and even though he also dealt with a DL stint, has been a nice surprise for the Royals. He is playing a solid CF with good offensive production, a commodity a lot of big league teams would love to have. Best part is that he’s not arbitration eligible until 2015. Cain has displayed some pop in his bat, and if he can learn at the big league level to get on  base a bit more, he could be a potential All-Star.

Jake Odorizzi was selected to start for the USA in the All-Star Futures game this year (2012) and perform in front of the home town crowd. He’s not a guy who’s going to blow you away with any pitch, but he has a nice arsenal with good command. He lacks a plus out-pitch, but his smooth mechanics and three above pitches (fastball, curve, change) will allow him to have success as a number 3-4 starter in the AL.

Jeremy Jeffress who has had some off the field issues which have really made him a disappointment, along with his horrendous walk rate. The talent is there for him to be a shut-down closer, as he touches triple digits with the fastball with seemingly little effort. Thus far, his command has kept him from touching that potential.

Four highly talented players left Milwaukee for the prized right-hander, and several days ago and two dominant seasons of production later, the Brewers save themselves from letting Greinke go for nothing since he is a free agent to be in the 2012-13 offseason. Unless the Angels re-sign Greinke, they paid a hefty price to acquire a 2-month rental. One safe bet along with two high ceiling gambles.

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY  Anthony Gose #3 of Tea...

KANSAS CITY, MO – JULY Anthony Gose #3 of Team USA watches as Jean Segura #8 of the World Team throws toward first after tagging him out in the basepath during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 8, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Jean Segura is the safe bet of the trio. He plays either SS or 2B, but with Rickie Weeks in town Segura will come to the big leagues immediately and fill their glaring hole at shortstop. I personally feel Segura would be a greater asset both offensively and defensively at 2B, but in the meantime he will play an adequate SS and provide plenty of offensive production at a position that many teams consider it a luxury. Segura is a stocky guy who hasn’t developed power but hits for average right now. Power may come in time once he has made some adjustments at the big league level, but in the meantime he could hit .290 with average defensive skills.

The two arms that Milwaukee receive are Ariel Pena and John Hellweg. Pena, who had a disaster outing at the All-Star Futures Game has a nice arsenal of pitches including a slightly above average fastball at 90-94 and a nice change up that has some fading action. When I saw Pena in the Futures Game, his velocity was touching 97, but since he is being treated as a starter, so that’s not where he will be in the starting role. He’g a big strong guy who has a lot of potential if he can refine his command a tick more.

Hellweg is the biggest gamble of them all. He has a chance to be a legit ace, or be a total bust based on his ability to improve his command drastically. There is no questioning his stuff, and he’s a guy worth taking a shot on because the rewards could be enormous.  His fastball easily sits in the mid to upper 90’s (95-98MPH), and he has a filthy curveball with hard movement similar to a slider. He gets good separation in velocity between the two pitches, but has yet to show an ability to command the ever-important third offering for a starter, his change up. Hellweg might be a guy that can get away with two plus pitches if he can command them, if not, he may end up a bullpen guy or a total bust if he never improves.

In the initial trade to acquire Greinke, Milwaukee gave up a lot of players that nobody would be shocked if they were big league regulars. In the deal where they sent him packing they took a sure bet in Jean Segura, but two high risk, high reward arms in Hellweg and Pena. Milwaukee will need one of those arms to develop, otherwise they will have “lost” this deal from a talent perspective. However don’t forget, they got some incredible production from Greinke while he was here and got Brewers fans excited to come to the ballpark. All in all, Brewers front office did a nice job getting the maximum in return from the Angels, who are in win-now mode.

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