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Reports: Royals trade Greinke to Brewers, make them contenders

David Brown
Big League Stew

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How about a little middle-of-the-night hot stove action, baseball fans?

If the reports are true, and Kansas City has dealt 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke(notes) to Milwaukee, the Brewers should be your pick to win the NL Central.

Heck, the World Series. If you can get into the playoffs, you can win them. See: The San Francisco Giants, 2010 World Series champions.

The first report of a Greinke deal came late Saturday night from Bernie's Crew, a fan blog which is partnered with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Now, you might be thinking: Blogs. What do they know? And it's true, the Brewers beat reporter for the J-S could not confirm the deal. Yet.

But there's another report, from OnMilwaukee.com, confirming that terms have been agreed upon. Here's the trade:

For Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt(notes), the Royals would receive outfielder Lorenzo Cain(notes) and shortstop Alcides Escobar(notes), along with minor-league pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress(notes).

Update: ESPN is reporting the deal to be done, though Tom Haudricourt of the J-S is saying Jeffress might not be part of the package.

Yay, blogs! And yay for the Brewers.

Certainly Milwaukee, with one of the top offenses in the NL and a pitching staff led by two Cy Young candidates — Greinke and Yovani Gallardo(notes), along with good filler guys such as Shaun Marcum(notes) and Chris Narveson(notes) (and Randy Wolf(notes)) — could unseat the Reds.

Greinke slumped in 2010 but his stuff is the best the AL offers, other than that of Felix Hernandez(notes).

The question is: Can Greinke handle the scrutiny of playing under the Milwaukee microscope? After all, going to Wisconsin is like crossing into Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia.

I kid, of course.

Greinke famously has been treated for social anxiety disorder, which has led some to believe that he couldn't deal with pitching in, say, New York City. But with families like the Cunninghams and DeFazios on every other corner in Milwaukee County — aaaaaaayyyyyyyy! — he'd be most welcome there.

Not that the experience wouldn't be different for Greinke; Brewers games are well-attended at Miller Park and, like I said, they'd make the playoffs with him on the pitching staff.

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That second part, about the playoffs, isn't relatable to KC at all. The Royals haven't come close to winning since 1985, when they most recently won the World Series. And it's not like George Brett and Willie Wilson (right) are coming through that door for skipper Ned Yost.

The Royals, for all of their flailing at the major league level, have developed one of the top farm systems in baseball. Maybe the best.

But Greinke, who is due to make $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons before hitting free-agency, seems to have lost patience in waiting for the master plan of general manager Dayton Moore to bear fruit.

So what do the Royals get for their ace? Baseball America projected Odorizzi to be a No. 3 starter by 2013 and said Jeffress had the best fastball in KC's system. You're more likely to know Escobar — Milwaukee's starting shortstop in 2010 — and Cain, who was starting in center down the stretch.

Fangraphs listed Betancourt and Escobar as having similar value in 2010 but at 24 years old, Escobar's arrow is pointing higher. Cain's future seems bright. The Royals appear to be getting MLB-caliber players for Greinke. But is there a future All-Star in this group?

For the Brewers, this deal is reminiscent of general manager Doug Melvin going for it by adding CC Sabathia(notes) in 2008. That trade worked, in that Milwaukee made a brief appearance in the playoffs, its first since 1982.

This trade would give them at least two full seasons with Greinke. And another shot at glory.

Therefore, expect a lot more of that yanking-the-jersey-out-of-the-pants stuff after the last out for the Crew. Plus, they might bring back the Prince Fielder(notes) "explodes" thing. And hip bumps in quantity beyond anyone's wildest dreams.

Greinke would make Milwaukee a place to be this summer.

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave

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