This was an unexpected story to wake up to this Sunday morning. Bernie’s Crew blog was reporting that the Milwaukee Brewers had agreed a trade with the Kansas City Royals in which Zack Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young winner, will head to the Brew Crew.
I picked up the story via Twitter over breakfast and was struck by the lack of any comment from the usual Hot Stove sources: Buster Olney of ESPN, Ken Rosenthal of Fox, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, and MLB Trade Rumours. Those guys don’t miss much, which put the story into a bit of doubt.
That doubt was even fuelled by the original story. While the title stated “Report: Brewers Acquire Zack Greinke”, the opening paragraph was a disclaimer:
“**Disclaimer: This is a rumor that has not yet been confirmed from within the organization, but I feel comfortable enough with the information and the source to publish this rumor. Please just keep in mind that this is only a rumor and should be treated as such until further notice.**”
Jim Breen, the blog’s author, felt confident enough in his source to put his blogging neck on the line and it now looks like his instinct was correct.
In fairness to Olney, Rosenthal, Heyman and their ilk, this story came out late on Saturday night U.S. time. When I looked at it this British morning, those guys would have been asleep (in fact this proves that they do sleep, which was in some doubt beforehand. They often seem so ubiquitous that I thought they lived in a 24 hour, coffee-fuelled existence).
Peter Gammons tweeted about twenty minutes ago that the deal is in place pending a medical. In between checking MLB.com just before starting to write this and checking it again just now, the story has become the main feature on the official website.
So that looks official to me. That’s a great scoop for Jim Breen and the Bernie’s Crew blog and a fantastic deal for the Brewers.
Greinke will join Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and the newly-acquired Shaun Marcum to form a vastly improved rotation. That makes me think that the Brewers will hold on to Prince Fielder now, rather than trade him with one year left on his contract. The Brewers have given up several young players in recent days (if this Greinke deal does indeed go through without a last minute hitch), but the two first round draft picks they would get for Fielder if/when he leaves as a free agent this time next year will start the process of re-stocking the farm system.
Meanwhile, the Brewers have just greatly increased their chances of competing for a postseason spot. Back on 28 November, I was predicting Fielder’s departure and stating: “while the NL Central is far from the deepest division, you would think only a series of significant additions would really push this team forward in 2011 and such developments do not appear to be on the horizon”.
I‘m happy to be proved wrong on that. The 2011 NL Central race just got even more interesting.