The Milwaukee Brewers landed 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke in a six-player trade with the Kansas City Royals, the second offseason deal aimed at upgrading their starting pitching staff.
The Brewers acquired Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt from the Royals for shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and top pitching prospects Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi.
“This is sort of a ‘now’ deal,” Brewers General Manager Bob Melvin said on the team’s website, comparing it to the trade that brought CC Sabathia to Milwaukee in 2008. “But we got (Greinke) for two years, and maybe even longer. That’s the difference. He’s excited about coming here.”
Greinke, 27, has two years and $27 million left on his current contract.
He won the Cy Young as the AL’s best pitcher in 2009 by going 16-8 with a 2.16 earned run average. Greinke was 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA last season as the Royals finished in last place in the AL Central Division with a 67-95 record.
The Brewers, coming off a third-place finish in the NL Central at 77-85, two weeks ago acquired pitcher Shaun Marcum from the Toronto Blue Jays for their top infield prospect, 20-year-old second baseman Brett Lawrie. Greinke and Marcum, who was Toronto’s opening day pitcher last season, join a Brewers staff that also includes Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf.
Milwaukee’s 4.65 ERA was next-to-last in the NL in 2010.
“Sometimes our (minor league) system gets criticized, but you’re not able to make a deal like this if you don’t have talent there,” Melvin said. “So I give our guys credit, and I have faith in them to restock the system for the future.”