December 20, 2010
The Jayson Werth(notes), Carl Crawford(notes) and Cliff Lee(notes) signings all rank among the biggest offseason surprises, but the Zack Greinke(notes) trade this past weekend may have redefined "whirlwind."
After all, most of us not named David Brown went to bed on Saturday night thinking he was still a member of the Kansas City Royals and we woke up to the news that he was reshaping the race in the NL Central as the new ace of the Milwaukee Brewers.
By Monday morning, he was already at Miller Park, taking questions from the local media and checking out his new digs in the Brewers clubhouse. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel transcribed his meet-'n-greet and I've taken the liberty of pointing out a few highlights below.
• The Brewers were originally on Greinke's "no-trade" list, but the acquisition of Shaun Marcum(notes) and a pledge to keep Prince Fielder(notes) around for his final year of arbitration convinced the pitcher to allow a trade to Milwaukee. Greinke said that the Brewers were among the top-three teams he wanted to land with.
• Greinke said this is the happiest he's been in baseball since the 2002 draft. He also noted that he thought he'd be selected by the Brewers that day, but the Royals selected him with the No. 6 pick in the draft. Milwaukee drafted a big first baseman with the next selection. Guy by the name of Prince Fielder.
• As a career American Leaguer to this point, Greinke is looking forward to hitting in the National League. He's a career .167 hitter (4 for 24) with his lone RBI coming from a homer off Arizona's Russ Ortiz(notes) in 2005.
• Greinke abstained from talk about both himself ("I don't like talking much") and World Series contention, noting that Cincinnati and St. Louis would pose big challenges in the NL Central first.
• One reporter actually asked Greinke if he'd "welcome not being the focal point here, like you were in Kansas City?" While it's true that he'll now share the spotlight with Fielder and Ryan Braun, won't Greinke be more of a focal point now that he's the ace of a team that draws 3 million people a year and has actual playoff expectations?
• Finally, Greinke's trademark honesty was at its entertaining best when he was asked the only question that really matters in Wisconsin. Are you with the Pack or against them?
With your wife being a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, does that mean you won't be a Packer fan?: "Actually, she doesn't like the Cowboys. She did then but now she doesn't for some reason. I've never been a Green Bay fan, though. Sorry about that. I like Aaron Rodgers for fantasy as a quarterback, but he got drafted too high in our league this year. I almost worked out a trade for him and Greg Jennings, but it fell through."