Brewers deal for Royals ace

December 19, 2010

Zack Greinke is going to Milwaukee.

In a stunning move, the Brewers on Saturday acquired the Royals’ ace, sending Kansas City a package of young players.

The Royals, in exchange for Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million, will receive shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, and right-handers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress.

Jeffress, 23, showed promise in 10 relief appearances with Milwaukee this year but is perhaps best-known within the industry for testing positive for marijuana use three times. He received a 100-game suspension in 2009.

Both Escobar and Cain projected to be regulars for the Brewers in 2011. Odorizzi was perhaps the Brewers’ most highly regarded young pitcher.

Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young winner, is due $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons. Betancourt is signed for $4 million next season with a $6 million club option or $2 million buyout for 2012.

Greinke waived his no-trade clause to accept the deal with the Brewers — something he wasn't as willing to do with the Washington Nationals. The Royals were close to a deal with the Nats, but Greinke would have wanted compensation to waive his no-trade clause before going to Washington.

Starting pitching was the Brewers’ biggest issue last season. But the addition of Greinke, along with an earlier trade for Blue Jays right- hander Shaun Marcum, puts the team in a much stronger position.

Greinke will pair with right-hander Yovani Gallardo at the top of the Brewers’ rotation, followed by left-hander Randy Wolf and Marcum and either left-hander Manny Parra or Chris Narveson.

The Greinke trade was first reported by the “Bernie’s Crew” fan blog and senior baseball writer Jon Paul Morosi contributed to this report.