MLB

Brewers chose player over prospects

Share This Story

Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

Prospects. All you hear in baseball, all the time, is that certain prospects are too valuable to trade.

Brewers GM Doug Melvin evidently does not believe in that premise. And he is gambling his job that he will be proven right.

Melvin made the most surprising trade of the offseason on Sunday, acquiring Royals ace Zack Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for four of the Brewers' best young players.

Two of the Brewers' projected regulars, shortstop Alcides Escobar and center fielder Lorenzo Cain, are part of the package for Greinke. So are two of the team's top young arms, right-handers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi.

Odorizzi, 20, actually draws comparisons to Greinke, but some rival clubs believe he could end up in the bullpen. Jeffress, 23, has tested positive three times for marijuana, but throws in the upper 90s and made an impressive debut as a reliever last season.

Melvin clearly is trying to win next season, which almost certainly will be the last in Milwaukee for first baseman Prince Fielder and perhaps the last for second baseman Rickie Weeks.

Earlier this offseason, Melvin made a similar but less extravagant deal, trading perhaps his top prospect, infielder Brett Lawrie, for Blue Jays right-hander Shaun Marcum.

Which is why one rival executive, upon learning of the Greinke deal, used the term “gutted” to describe the state of the Brewers' farm system.

That description might very well be accurate. But if the Brewers reach the postseason in Fielder's last hurrah, Melvin will simply figure out the rest later.

Melvin, remember, traded a supposedly rich package for nearly four months of CC Sabathia in 2008. The Brewers have yet to be haunted by any of those players — first baseman Matt LaPorta, outfielder Michael Brantley, right-hander Robert Bryson and left-hander Zach Jackson.

PIONEER SPIRIT

Jackie Robinson was the first black player in the majors. Which brave men followed in his footsteps?

For two seasons of Greinke, Melvin seemingly had to give more. But Cain, who will be 25 on April 13, has only 158 major-league plate appearances. Escobar, for all his gifts, has a .307 on-base percentage in 623 PAs, though he is still just 24.

In this hyper-analytical, rush-to-judgment era, the Royals actually might get criticized for acquiring players who are close to the majors but offer less upside than those that might have been available from other clubs.

It will take years to settle the debate. Melvin, who is signed through 2012 but is under scrutiny from owner Mark Attanasio after two straight losing seasons, needs to win now.

The Brewers should definitely contend in the modest NL Central in 2011. And even if both Fielder and Weeks depart as free agents, they still will boast a decent core in '12.

Greinke, Marcum, Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf would be in the rotation. Left fielder Ryan Braun, right fielder Corey Hart, third baseman Casey McGehee and catcher Jonathan Lucroy would be in the lineup, along with a promising young hitter, first baseman Mat Gamel. Right-hander John Axford would be the closer, lefty Zach Braddock a setup man.

MLB Buzz

HOT STOVE

Our experts bring you all latest news. Read MLB Buzz.

Shortstop and center field — the two positions the Royals were desperate to address in the Greinke trade — still might be issues. But if Escobar and Cain had failed to develop, those spots might have been issues, anyway.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Too many current GMs are afraid of trading prospects, afraid of making deals that will come back to “haunt” them. Well, the idea isn't to win the Baseball America organizational rankings. The idea is to win the World Series.

Three years ago, the Tigers traded six players to the Marlins for third baseman Miguel Cabrera and left-hander Dontrelle Willis. The Marlins received the two jewels of the Tigers' farm system, center fielder Cameron Maybin and left-hander Andrew Miller. Both flopped and were traded this offseason.

Prospects are fine, but Doug Melvin needs players.

He's getting one of the best.

Tagged: Tigers, Royals, Brewers, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Alcides Escobar

More Stories From Ken Rosenthal

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..