|Zach Greinke's career record against|
the Twins is an unimpressive
I am very much an admirer of Zach Greinke, but that's a lot of talent Milwaukee surrendered for two years of him. Joe Posnanski doesn't like the deal for Kansas City, but I think the Royals might have gotten more out of this forced trade than anybody else has gotten in recent similar deals (Santana, Sabathia, Lee twice, Halladay).
The word was that Kansas City wasn't going to consider trading Greinke within the AL Central. That would have ruled the Twins out anyway. But I doubt that the Twins had the pieces to match this deal.
Kyle Gibson is more advanced than Odorizzi, and either Ben Revere or Aaron Hicks would have fit well as a Cain replacement. Jeffress is a power arm, the type the Twins have lacked — and he is one more positive test for a recreational drug from a lifetime suspension, which makes him at least somewhat dicey an acquisition. He figures to step directly into the Kansas City bullpen.
But the shortstop — that piece of the puzzle just isn't available in the Twins system. Escobar's stock fell some with his rookie season, in which he hit just .235/.288/.326, but he just turned 24, has excellent defensive tools and a lot of "upside."
A roughly comparable package from the Twins would have been Gibson, Hicks, Carlos Gutierrez and Alexi Casilla or Trevor Plouffe. Even if the Twins would have been willing to surrender that much, and even leaving the division rival aspect out of the equation, I think the Milwaukee package is superior anyway.
Two more points about this deal:
(1) Betancourt's inclusion in the deal is interesting because he has been regarded in the sabermetric community as, if not the worst regular player in the majors, one of the "strongest" candidates for that status. That the Royals wanted a young shortstop in a Greinke deal was no secret.
Did the Royals insist that the Brewers take Betancourt as part of the trade, or did the Brewers insist on getting a body to fill the hole being vacated by Escobar? I suspect it was both, and that the cash involved in the trade is a year of Betancourt's salary.
(2) Prince Fielder is part of why the Brewers were willing to give up so much. He's eligible for free agency after 2011; his agent is Scott Boras, and that implies that he's unlikely to re-sign wth the Brewers; the trade market for Fielder has been slim to nonexistent.
So the Brewers are going for it now. They earlier traded another prospect, Brett Lawrie, for Shaun Marcum, a good if sometimes injured starter. This gives them a projected rotation headed by Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Marcum and Randy Wolf. That foursome may not match the big fours in Philadelphia or San Francisco for hype or past achievement, but it's pretty darn good.
Poll stuff: Forty-one people participated in last week's poll, which asked which of four bullpen candidates would pitch in the most games for the Twins in 2011.
Scott Diamond had the most votes, 13 (32 percent); Pat Neshek, who led most of the week, had 12 (29 percent); Jim Hoey had eight (20 percent); Anthony Slama had six (15 percent) and two (4 percent) said they'll be tied at zero.
New poll up.