This Hot Stove season has been everything a baseball fan could hope.
UPDATE: Word is that Jeremy Jeffress is not in the deal and that a PTBNL is the fourth part of the Royals' return package.
UPDATE 2: But that word is wrong and Jeffress is headed to Kansas City.
Last night the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers agreed on a trade that will send ace starter Zack Greinke and much maligned shortstop Yuneisky Betancourt to Milwaukee for young center fielder Lorenzo Cain, speedy shortstop Alcides Escobar and two top pitching prospects: Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress.
Wow, is the word that comes to mind. Though I imagine the few remaining Royals fans are thinking in less family friendly terms. The deal actually isn't too bad. It may actually be the best deal Dayton Moore has made.
Lorenzo Cain was a favorite to unseat Carlos Gomez as the starting center fielder in Milwaukee in the upcoming season. Cain has above average, maybe even great speed. He is definitely a quality basestealer. He has very little homerun power right now. However, he has shown that he has the patience to draw walks and has shown signs that he knows what he is doing at the plate. If he continues to develop he should be the Royals' best option as leadoff hitter.
Alcides Escobar was supposed to become one of the stolen base leaders in the National League. Unfortunately he failed to hit as expected in 2010 and found himself with a manager who was not a fan of the stolen base. I was actually looking forward to watching Escobar rebound this season under new manager Ron Roenicke. Escobar doesn't walk much which hurts his on-base percentage and he swings at a ton of pitches out of the strike zone. He does make good contact and has fantastic speed so he still has a great chance to contribute to a fantasy team.
Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress were the Brewers best pitching prospects. Ordorizzi is a potential ace starter which awesome stuff. He has a great fastball and a variety of quality pitches to complement it. He had a nice 10.07 K9 last season in the minors and a very decent 46 percent groundball rate. He is the real deal. Jeffress throws the ball with triple digit velocity and has been compared to Dwight Gooden very frequently. He has an other worldly strikeout rate but struggles to gain even decent control. Many analyst believe that he will eventually move to the bullpen and become a top closer.
The Brewers have just about emptied their farm system between the Greinke and Marcum deals but have put together what is likely a top five starting rotation. The Brewers had one of the better offenses in the National League last season so they should be a much improved team. Greinke will love pitching in the National League because he will get to hit (something he never wanted to stop doing) and he will finally get to pitch in meaningful games. Greinke joins Marcum at the top of NL-only wish lists.
The 2011 season is going to be a ton of fun.