Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Brewers get Greinke, Betancourt . . . .

with 2 comments

And finally, folks, for my third post of the night, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the Milwaukee Brewers recent trade for RHP Zack Greinke.

Yesterday afternoon, the Brewers traded SS Alcides Escobar, CF Lorenzo Cain, and two minor league RHP, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress, to the Kansas City Royals for Greinke and SS Yuniesky Betancourt.  Greinke is a former American League Cy Young winner (he won in ’09 with a 16-8 record), and is considered one of the best pitchers in the major leagues despite having an off-year in 2010 with a 10-14 record and a 4.19 ERA.

I’m pleased the Brewers went out and got Greinke, because this is the second pitcher the Brewers have acquired in the off season (the Brewers got Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays a few weeks ago, trading minor league 2B Brett Lawrie for him straight up).   He’s an excellent pitcher and should really help the Brewers’ rotation — and as all know, the Brewers’ main problem the last few years has been pitching.  Especially starting pitching.  (When the Brewers lost C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets to free agency, they took a major step down despite all their good hitters — Corey Hart, Casey McGehee, and of course Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.  Hitters can’t do much when the starters keep giving up around 5 ERs a game.)

But I’m not happy the Brewers parted with Lorenzo Cain; Cain had shown some power and a great deal of speed to go along with his excellent defensive skills in centerfield in his brief stint in the majors last year, hitting .308 with a robust OBP of .348 — pretty good for his first 147 at-bats.

The others — eh.  I liked what I saw of Jeffress, and I’m sure he’ll have a good career if he can stay away from the illegal substances (he’s been busted twice under MLB’s anti-drug policy for marijuana use), but to get Greinke I have no problem with him leaving.  Ditto for Jake Odorizzi, who seemed like a good prospect thus far — possibly the Brewers best pitcher in the minors (certainly the most-hyped), though he was still in A ball this past year.

To be perfectly honest, though, I was glad to see Alcides Escobar go; I felt his defensive play was at best overhyped (Escobar makes great plays, then muffs easy ones), especially compared to the SS who came before him, JJ Hardy (who is an outstanding defensive shortstop, possibly the best in the major leagues, and certainly in the top five when healthy), and his offense was, well, anemic at .235 with a .288 OBP and 10 stolen bases.

When I went to Brewers games last year, everyone I spoke with used the same words to describe Escobar:  “Overhyped.”  “Flash in the pan.”  “Melvin’s an idiot — can we please have JJ Hardy back?”  And I agreed — Escobar was described as “the real deal,” or “everything, and the bag of chips besides” — and he just wasn’t.  (Perhaps no one could live up to that billing.)

Betancourt would appear to be a step up offensively, as he batted .259 with 16 HRs (to Escobar’s 4) and 78 RBIs (to Escobar’s 41), though he also has a very low OBP at .288.  As for his defense, I’d describe it as adequate — he’s another guy who won’t make anyone forget JJ Hardy anytime soon — though as he’s not been labeled a “can’t-miss” prospect, maybe he’ll be less encumbered by expectations than was Escobar.

At any rate, this is a trade that looks very good on paper and I hope it works out well for the Brewers.  I know that as a fan, I’m for it.

2 Responses

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  1. I am extremely appeased to see Escobar go. Ding-dong the loser’s gone!

    Here’s hoping for a good season for the Brew.



    December 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

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