The Kansas City Royals have traded 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke along with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to the Milwaukee Brewers for shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and two pitching prospects.
The question here is whether the Brewers are going to get the Greinke of 2009 or the Greinke of 2010. In 2009, Greinke went 16-9 and with league leading 2.16 ERA while striking out 242 batters. However, in 2010, Greinke struggled with a 10-14 record while his ERA jumped two runs to 4.17 and although he nearly pitched the same number of innings he struck out 61 fewer batters. To put it into perspective, Greinke won fewer games for the Royals in 2010 than did journeyman southpaw Bruce Chen who led all Royals pitchers with 12 victories.
Greinke will join a rotation that includes Yovani Gallardo, lefties Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson as well as Shawn Marcum who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays during the Winter Meetings earlier this month. Wolf will eat innings but Gallardo is an underachiever and the jury is out on both Narveson and Marcum. Even if Greinke does regain his 2009 form I’m not sure the Brewers will improve much in 2011. Who knows? The Royals might get the better of that deal.