Sunday, December 19, 2010

What the Zack Greinki trade means for Prince Fielder

Somewhat surprisingly, the Brewers traded for Zack of the top pitchers available in this off-season.

Greinke will be well paid by the Brewers who will owe him $13.5 million for each of the next two seasons before he hits free agency. While he did pitch very well in 2007 and 2008 (partially in relief in 2007), Greinke really burst onto the scene in 2009 when he won the Cy Young award posting a 2.16 ERA.

Last season Greinke was considerably more hittable with his ERA almost doubling over the previous season. In fact, Greinke's second half last year was really poor ending with a horrendous September.

So what are the Brewers getting here? Well, on the optimistic side, they have a young pitcher who can compliment/co-ace with Yovani Gallardo. On the opposite side, they have a pitcher who had a fluke season in 2009 and will never quite measure up to expectations.

Remember also, Miller Park is a launching pad.

The Brewers, last season, desperately tried to shore up their horrendous starting staff last season with the acquisitions of Randy Wolfe and Doug I predicted, that didn't work out too well. Greinke would a appear to be a far superior move and upgrade.

The cost? Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi. Escobar was their everyday shortstop last the Royals, in the trade, sent Yuniesky Betancourt to the Brewers as well. While the Brewers have been rather high on Escobar, on the surface it appears to me like they have upgraded at shortstop as well. I really don't know much about the prospects Jeffress and Odorizzi. Cain was a speedster in the outfield in his short time with the Brewers last year.

This is a pretty big trade for the Brewers who have now snatched up Greinke before a bigger name team was able to pick him up. It also signals that the Brewers think that they will be very competitive this coming year. If they can get a better year out of Randy Wolfe, Gallardo continues to improve and Greinke is who they think he is, they have a solid top three in their pitching rotation.

It also means the Prince Fielder isn't going anywhere in the short term. Fielder will be filing for free agency next year as the Brewers are unlikely to make an offer to him that will meet his expectations. Like 3 years ago, this is going to be 'all in' for the Brewers as they try to make the playoffs again at all costs knowing this might be their best shot for a number of years to come.

If the Brewers falter and are out of competition by the All-Star break, they will move Fielder and try to get something for him before he bolts for a team that can afford his outragous contract demands in free agency.

Keep all this in mind as the Cubs move forward through 2010. It would seem unlikely that the Brewers would trade within the division, but it is possible. If the Cubs are in contention in 2011 (stop might happen), and Carlos Pena continues to stink like he did last season (likely to happen) never know.

Remember, unless Albert Pujols enters free agency in 2011, Fielder will likely be the top prize for position players before the 2012 season, and the Cubs will be in need of a first baseman.