Brewers Make Splash

Manager happy about trade


Brewers Make Big Splash

By Mike Hoblitzell

The Milwaukee Brewers continued the offseason makeover of their starting rotation by acquiring 2009 Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals in a stunning six-player trade.

The Brewers paid a steep price to get Greinke, giving up starting shortstop Alcides Escobar, potential starting centerfielder Lorenzo Cain, right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, and their top minor league pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi. The Brewers also received shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and cash from the Royals.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is very pleased with the way the trade worked out for the team.

“The trade came together fairly quick, Zack is the perfect player we needed to get back to the postseason,” Melvin said.

The team’s principal owner Mark Attanasio echoed Melvin’s excitement.

“I was on pins and needles until we were able to announce it (the trade).”

Greinke, 27, had his best season as a pro in 2009, when he went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA and notched 242 strikeouts, netting him the American League Cy Young Award.

By those standards, some believe that Greinke had a bit of a down year in 2010, going 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA. Greinke does not see it that way.

“I look at what I did last season, and everyone’s like ‘He pitched so bad,’ and then they talk about how good someone else pitched, and their numbers are actually the same exact as mine. Just for me, they expect a lot more.”

The Brewers were originally on a list of teams that Greinke would not accept a trade to, but Greinke changed his mind reportedly because he liked the Brewers’ chances of being successful in 2011.

“They shouldn’t have been on my list in the first place, I wanted to wait and see what happened with the team first,” Greinke said.

Melvin added, “Zack is a very intelligent guy, and he recognized that this was a team that had a chance to go out and win championships.”

Just nearly a week before the Greinke trade, Melvin traded top position prospect Brett Lawrie to the Toronto Blue Jays for their ace, Shaun Marcum. In 2010, Marcum went 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA in 31 starts, which are impressive numbers considering Marcum pitched in the American League East Division, one of the toughest in baseball.

“It’s definitely nice to be out of the East, I don’t have to worry about facing that DH,” Marcum said.

Marcum has been told that Greinke and he are considered as “life savers” by Brewers fans, but he is not putting any extra pressure on himself.

“We’re here, and we’re going to help this team win ballgames and try to get to the postseason,” Marcum said.

Both trades have depleted the Brewers of some their up-and-coming talent, but that is not worrying team officials because they finally have a solid starting rotation that has been sought after since 2008, when the team had standout pitchers CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets on the roster.

This is how the starting rotation could look this season:

1.  Zack Greinke

2.  Yovani Gallardo

3.  Shaun Marcum

4.  Randy Wolf

5.  Chris Narveson

The new look rotation does not come close to resembling last season’s, that at times featured Jeff Suppan, Doug Davis, Manny Parra, and Chris Capuano. That 2010 starting rotation had the second-worst ERA in the National League, and most starters failed to pitch deep into games, giving the bullpen a heavy workload. Hitting coach Dale Sveum does not think that will be a problem this season.

“Doug’s put together one heck of a pitching staff.”

After the Brewers added Greinke and Marcum, refused to trade Prince Fielder, and are negotiating with second baseman Rickie Weeks on a contract extension, the club is setting the bar high for 2011. The team definitely has the “win-now” attitude that it had in 2008, when they made their first postseason appearance since 1982.

Manager Ron Roenicke believes his team has what it takes to make it back to the ever-elusive playoffs.

“You always have high expectations of your guys. Obviously with the moves we made this winter, we put ourselves in a position where we feel we should win. I’m expecting us to go a long ways,” Roenicke said.

When asked when fans could expect a World Series appearance, Melvin did not hold back.

“Our goal is this year.”




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