Results tagged ‘ jean segura ’
by Kevin Kimmes
Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of our 2013 review & preview series. You can read the rest here.
Review of 2012:
When Milwaukee found themselves as sellers at the trade deadline in 2012, the Brewers faithful knew they had seen the last of Zack Greinke. Greinke, who had never lost a game at Miller Park, was about to become a free agent at the end of the year, and one way or another was about to get a huge payday for his services, most likely from a major market team. So, to get something out of his departure, the Brewers traded him to the Angels in late July for some top quality farmhands in Double-A pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena, as well as shortstop Jean Segura.
While Helwig and Pena would see minimal playtime in 2012 with Milwaukee , Segura would get the opportunity to fill in as the teams starting shortstop thanks to a hole at the position left by an early season injury to Alex Gonzalez. The gamble would pay off for Milwaukee as Segura took to the big league level of play right away.
As mentioned on the back of his 2013 Topps Spring Fever card: “Soon after the Brewers acquired Segura in a trade with the Angels last July, he was tossed into the Major League fire for the first time. By September, the 22-year-old was thriving, batting .375 in one 20-game stretch and finishing with seven stolen bases in eight attempts. Those were credentials enough to make the shortstop job his to lose this spring.”
Segura finished his 2012 season with Milwaukee with a slash line of .264/.321/.331 over 163 plate appearances in 44 games. He recorded 39 hits, 14 RBI, 7 stolen bases and walked 13 times.
Projected 2013 Stat Line (according to Baseball Info Solutions):
139/477 over 147 games, 6 HR, 50 RBI, 35 BB, 69 K, .291/.340/.388
The above numbers should come as no surprise to anyone that followed Segura’s offseason. He won the Dominican Winter League batting title, hitting .325 over 35 games and ranked 2nd in stolen bases with 11. Similar numbers were shown in his 18 Spring Training appearances in which he hit 19/52 with 3 stolen bases and a slash line of .365/.377/.577.
Depth of Position:
Behind Segura at short is the man that he replaced at the position last year, Alex Gonzalez. Initially released by Milwaukee in the offseason, Gonzalez eventually re-signed with Milwaukee where he figures to start the season at 1st base filling in for the injured Corey Hart.
Behind him, there is one more shortstop, a name that sends shivers down the spines of the collective fan base. A name so polarizing, that it made those opposed to the Kyle Lohse acquisition question if Doug Melvin had finally lost his mind. That man: Yuniesky Betancourt. Luckily for all of us it sounds like the plans for Yuni is as a utility bat, not a utility infielder.
With Yuni fresh on everyone’s minds, I’ll leave you with the following:
Kevin Kimmes is a regular contributor to creamcitycables.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kevinkimmes.
By: Ryan Smith
Perhaps baseball, more than any other sport, allows fan bases all over North America to look forward to the next season and think that this could be our year.
Think about it for a second.
In the NBA, it’s basically LeBron and everybody else. If you don’t have a stable of genuine stars, you’re basically playing for a second-round exit from the playoffs.
In the NFL, there are typically a few “surprise” teams. But in the end, the Super Bowl often comes down to teams that have already been there or teams that were previously on the cusp of greatness. Even this year, the Super Bowl pitted the two teams who lost in their conference championship games the year before.
In the NHL…who knows? I hate hockey.
But baseball? Baseball has teams that stay consistently dominant, teams that slowly build through the minors and eventually reach their greatness, and teams that seem to turn it all around in a few short months. Going into a new season, everyone has a shot.
Well, everyone except Houston.
This brings me to the topic of this article: the National League Central Division.
2013 will be the first season with Houston-less NL Central. With their move to the American League, Houston has opened up a spot in the cellar of the division. To figure out who will claim their rightful position in the division’s basement, I thought I’d take a look at the four remaining non-Milwaukee teams in the NL Central.
I’ll take a look at the teams in the order I believe they will finish in the division standings, going from worst to first. My Brewers preview will be coming in the next few weeks. After all, I want to wait until I have an idea of who might be playing first on Opening Day.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
(All stats courtesy of Fangraphs)
2012 Record: 61-101
2012 Division Finish: 5th
Before I start, let me make one thing clear: I think Theo Epstein is doing a pretty impressive job in turning around the Cubbies. Perhaps the most intelligent thing he is doing is avoiding knee-jerk reactions, passing up opportunities to make pointless signings simply to make a splash. Instead, he seems to be focusing on slowly building up the organization’s farm system while also waiting for those albatross contracts to finally come off the books.That’s the good news for Cubs fans. The bad news? They still have to play the 2013 season, and this time they don’t have Houston as a cellar-buffer.
At this point, I think the Cubs have gotten used to bad news during the season. They didn’t even have to wait for Spring Training games to start for their first bit of bad news this year, with reports of Matt Garza’s strained lat coming in recent days. Garza’s health may be the most important item to focus on in Chicago this season. It’s not that Garza could help Chicago contend; they might not truly contend until 2015. With Garza, the Cubs own one of the most intriguing trade chips in all of baseball. If Garza is healthy, Epstein could use him to drive a mid-season trade that could bring more young talent to Wrigley, much like how the Brewers were able to get Jean Segura in exchange for Zack Greinke, a player who seemed to already have his bags packed. If Garza is not healthy, the Cubs simply have a player of little-to-no value.
The rest of the Chicago rotation lacks the punch needed to survive an NL Central that features three rather dangerous lineups. Jeff Samardzija was one of the more pleasant surprises for the Cubs last season, proving to be a more-than-capable starter. While I don’t think he will duplicate his 2012 numbers (9.27 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 3.38 xFIP), I do think he’ll continue to be a reliable starter who gives Cub fans a reason to hope.
The lineup for the Cubs looks pretty similar to the 2012 version that finished with 101 losses. Anthony Rizzo had a nice debut with the Cubs last season, producing a .285/.342/.463 line in 87 games with the big-league club. As far as additions go, Ian Stewart will be a new face at third, Nate Schierholtz will line up in the outfield, and Wilington Castillo looks to be in line to replace Geovany Soto behind the plate. While none of those names are going to sell any tickets outside of their immediate families, they do prove my earlier point that Epstein is taking the slow and steady approach, which should help Chicago in the long run.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t struggle mightily this year. It looks to be another brutal year for the Cubbies.
Predicted 2013 Record: 65-97
Predicted 2013 Division Finish: 5th
2012 Record: 79-83
2012 Division Finish: 4th
For two years now, the Pirates have taunted their fans with flashes of improvement, even hinting at genuine contention, only to crush their fan base with massive second-half collapses. I do have some good news for any Pirates fans reading this article:
There will be no second-half collapse.
However, I only say this because I don’t see the Pirates having the hot start they had in each of the last two seasons.
The Pirates’ rotation appears to be one of the few non-Andrew McCutchen bright spots for Pittsburgh. A.J. Burnett appears to have found a comfort zone in Pittsburgh, providing the Pirates with a very respectable arm at the top of their rotation. Wandy Rodriguez is a recognizable name in the #2 slot, but last year was a substantial step back for the former Astro. He saw his K/9 dip to 6.08 while producing a 4.09 xFIP. James McDonald surprised some people last year by proving to be a capable and relatively consistent starter. After that, the Pirates have Jeff Karstens, Kyle McPherson, and Francisco Liriano fighting for two rotation spots. I personally think Liriano is a name-only pitcher at this point, a guy who can provide a gem for five innings and then disappear for two months. Too much inconsistency for my taste.
The lineup? Well, there’s superstar Andrew McCutchen, one of the four or five best players in baseball today. After that? Starling Marte has potential to be an above-average regular in their lineup. Russell Martin provides an offensive upgrade from Rod Barajas at catcher, but that’s not saying a whole lot. The addition of Travis Snider could prove to be a pleasant surprise for the Pirates; I’ve always thought he could be a good player if he was given a real shot, which he should get in Pittsburgh.
In the end, Pirates fans will be in for yet another losing season in 2013. There is some help on the way in the farm system, but bringing up any of their really valuable prospects this season would only be rushing them. For now, enjoy that beautiful stadium and the joy that is watching Andrew McCutchen on a nightly basis.
Predicted 2013 Record: 75-87
Predicted 2013 Division Finish: 4th
2012 Record: 97-65
2012 Division Finish: 1st
The aspect of the Reds that makes them a really dangerous team is that they really don’t have a glaring weakness in their lineup. By adding Shin-Soo Choo in their trade with Cleveland, the Reds added a legitimate top-of-the-order bat. Choo is followed by Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, and Jay Bruce. By the time you are to #6-hitter Todd Frazier, you may already be making a visit to the mound. A team is rarely going to stop the Reds from scoring; instead, teams are going to need to spray hits to the outfield, where Cincinnati does appear to have a less-than-stellar defensive outfield, lacking a true centerfielder with the departure of Drew Stubbs.
As far as pitching goes, the Reds have a couple of strong arms at the top of their rotation. Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos give the Reds one of the more imposing 1-2 punches in baseball. Bronson Arroyo is what he is at this point; an innings eater who will sport a mid-4.00 ERA. Homer Bailey doesn’t do much for me, but he’s proven to be reliable over the last few seasons. The arrival of Aroldis Chapman in the rotation is the real wild card here. If he can successfully convert to full-time starter, the Reds could end up walking away with the division. If he struggles, which I think he will, the Reds will not only have a question mark in the rotation; they will also have to fill the gap that Chapman created in their bullpen. Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I’ve seen too many examples of lights-out bullpen arms struggle in their transition to a larger workload in the regular rotation.
As I stated at the beginning of this section, I am torn between picking the Reds and the Cardinals. Cincinnati has such a dangerous lineup and some starting pitching to back it up, and I’m not even looking at their potential mid-season call-ups, such as speedster Billy Hamilton. Still, I just feel like St. Louis will figure out a way to steal the division from the Reds. However, I still see the Reds getting into the playoffs and making some noise in October.
Predicted 2013 Record: 94-68
Predicted Division Finish: 2nd
St. Louis Cardinals
2012 Record: 88-74
2012 Division Finish: 2nd
This is painful for me to write. If you know me, you know that I hate the Cardinals. I hated Tony LaRussa. I hate Chris Carpenter. I really hate Yadier Molina.
But even with all of that hatred, I can’t help but think that the Cardinals are the best team in the NL Central, and they will win the division in 2013.
First, let’s look at reasons why the Cardinals could finish behind the Reds at the end of the season. Chris Carpenter’s season-ending (and possibly career-ending) injury has to be at the top of the list. I can’t say I was saddened upon hearing this news. I don’t care if that makes me a bad person. I already stated that I hate Carpenter. This injury is definitely a blow to the Cardinals this season and beyond. But keep in mind, Carpenter missed almost all of last season as well. Quite frankly, the Cardinals have gotten used to not having a pitching staff at full-strength over the last few seasons. The Cardinals rotation also got a bit weaker after losing Kyle Lohse to free agency in the offseason. At least, it appears that they got weaker on the surface. The fact of the matter is that Lohse is still a free agent. I’ve never been a big fan of him, and apparently all of the teams in Major League Baseball share that feeling, at least at whatever his asking price is.
Now on to the good news. Last time I checked, Adam Wainwright is still at the top of the rotation, and he remains one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. His curveball still makes hitters look foolish quite frequently. Jaime Garcia has elite stuff but durability issues. When those issues arose last season, Joe Kelly stepped in proved to be a very useful arm. Lance Lynn’s transition to the starting rotation worked out quite well. And 2-13 will mark the first full-season look at top-prospect Shelby Miller. Even without Carpenter and Lohse, that is still a very strong rotation.I believe the Cardinals also improved their lineup in the offseason, if only by moving on from Lance Berkman, who came back down to earth in 2012 (.259/.381/.444) after a very impressive 2011 (.301/.412/.547). Rafael Furcal enters the final year of his contract, which is good for two reasons for St. Louis. First, we all know how players seem to step up their game in contract years. Second, it means they can move on from the aging Furcal after 2013. Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, and the previously mentioned Molina provide a dangerous middle of the order for the Cardinals. Allen Craig had an abbreviated coming-out party last year, putting up impressive numbers in 119 games, including 22 homeruns and 35 doubles. If he can stay healthy all season, that makes a dangerous 2-6 in the lineup, and then David Freese comes to the plate. Much like the Reds, this St. Louis lineup just doesn’t give you a chance to catch your breath.
In the end, I think St. Louis’s deeper rotation, superior farm system, and better game management will lead them to the division title in 2013. In a race this close, a mid-season trade or call-up could prove to be the difference, but as it stands now, I think St. Louis will be finishing on top.
Predicted 2013 Record: 96-66
Predicted Division Finish: 1st
By: Ryan Smith (@ryanhenrysmith2)
Now that things have died down a bit after the Zack Greinke trade, I thought it would be a good idea to try and get a better idea of who the Brewers acquired last Friday. In my immediate reaction piece of Friday, I did take a look at what these three players have done thus far this season. But statistics can only tell us so much about these players.
In order to get a better idea of what types of players they are, I knew I needed to talk to someone who had some first-hand experience with each player. Thanks to the beauty that is the Twitterverse, I got in touch with Phil Elson, who for 12 seasons has been the radio broadcaster with the Arkansas Travelers, the AA affiliate for the Angels. Phil agreed to take part in a Twitter-based interview to discuss the package that Milwaukee received for Greinke. Here’s what transpired:
RS: Since you’ve had the pleasure of watching Segura, Hellweg, and Pena all season, what was your initial reaction when you heard about the package of players that were being sent to Milwaukee’s organization for Zack Greinke?
PE: Any reaction is split into 2 categories. 1) How it affects the club I cover in Little Rock. 2) How it affect the Angels on the field. For the Travelers it’s devastating because that’s 2/5 of a very strong starting rotation and our starting SS. Segura was probably going to be returning to Little Rock over the next week to 2 weeks. For the Angels…it’s a tremendous trade in the sense they didn’t give up Richards or Bourjos and got an ace like Greinke.
RS: Let’s discuss Segura, the top prospect in the Angels system at the time. What kind of player did the Brewers acquire in Segura?
PE: Segura is amazingly athletic. Rifle arm. Very quick and fast. Power potential. Very strong in the core, hips, legs. Learning to be a more patient hitter and it showed in the last 5-6 weeks.
PE: I’m not big on the player comps either to be honest. It’s not fair to the minor leaguer usually. Think of Segura as a guy who can play SS/2B. Give you the ability to get on base and hit for a solid OPS with some pop.
RS: I think we can live with that. Based on what you’ve seen from him this year, what do you consider to be Segura’s greatest strengths on the diamond?
PE: Quickness. Gets to a lot of balls on the infield. Has the chance to be a special baserunner. And I do think he can hit for some pop too.
RS: Segura has faced injury issues in the past. Were there any organizational concerns that durability might be a concern with him?
PE: Yes, but he’s been fine this year.
RS: There have been some concerns with his ability to stay at shortstop. In his time with the Travelers, how do you think he’s handled short? Is it inevitable that he’ll have to move to 2B or do you feel that he could be a long-term SS?
PE: I wouldn’t say it’s inevitable, but it’s possible for sure.
RS: Moving on to Hellweg, can you give any insight about his repertoire of pitches? What does he bring to the mound?
PE: Johnny has a great FB in the mid 90s. He can get it up to 100, but that’s not all the time. Very good 11-7 curve with bite and improving changeup. He’s a legit 6 foot 9. Tall and lanky. Room to grow. He’s grown 5 inches since signing.
RS: Most reports on Hellweg talk about his command issues. What have you noticed about this? Is it a case of him trying to pick the corners too much or does he go through those phases when it seems like he just can’t throw it over the plate?
PE: Over the last 2 months, for the most part, he commanded just fine. Troubles early, but he started to figure it out. He’s not a nibbler, that’s for sure. Competitive and hard working. A great guy and teammate.
RS: With tall guys like Hellweg, one of the common problems is repeating the delivery consistently. Can you talk about his delivery at all?
PE: Johnny talked about that being an issue throughout his career, especially since he’s grown 5 inches since signing.
RS: You’ve been able to see Hellweg start 21 games this year for the Travelers. Gut feeling: starter or reliever?
PE: Good question Ryan. I think he should be a starter right now. If the command issues creep up later on he might have to convert.RS: Finally, let’s talk about Ariel Pena. Same question as with Hellweg: what does Pena bring to the mound? What are his go-to pitches?
PE: 3 very good pitches. 4-seam FB low-to-mid 90′s. Hard slider that he can slow down. Outstanding change up. Big and strong.
RS: Looking through Pena’s stats for this year, his .264 BABIP jumps out at me. Does he generate a lot of groundballs or has he been on the receiving end of some luck, leading to his impressive 2.99 ERA?
PE: Our home ballpark is an extreme pitcher’s park. Could be part of that. He does leave stuff up a bit much sometimes.
RS: My only experience watching Pena was in the Futures Game this year, where he struggled, to say the least. After that disappointing performance, how did he bounce back in his next few starts for the Travelers?
PE: He was mostly fantastic after the Futures Game. He was all smiles the next day. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. He shouldn’t have been left in that long in the Futures Game.
RS: I agree on you there. Not really fair to him at all. And it’s not like the other World pitchers were blowing away the competition. With Pena, do you think he can stick as a starter or do you feel he might be more of a reliever in the long run?
PE: Starter. He’s always been a starter.
RS: So would you describe this trade as a win-win between these two organizations?
PE: Not yet I wouldn’t. You can’t make any comparisons until this season is over and see how Greinke did. But I think the Angels must resign him because they have no depth of starting pitching in the minors.
RS: Well, they’ve shown that they are willing to spend if they are winning, and I would assume they are confident they can get a deal done. That’s all I have – I’ll let you get ready for today’s game. Thanks again for doing this. We here at Cream City Cables really appreciate it.
PE: My pleasure.
It’s nice to get a little insight on the newest members of the Milwaukee Brewers organization. We here at Cream City Cables would like to once again thank Phil Elson (@ARTravs, @ElsonPhil) for helping us out with this.
By Nathan Petrashek (@npetrashek)
A lot of Brewers seem likely to find new digs over the next few days, and we’ll be recapping any credible trade rumors here. Check back often for the latest updates.
Randy Wolf. The Brewers rotation is going to look a lot different next year. Many speculated that Wolf could be moved at the deadline; the only question is, “for what?” ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Brewers will trade him for nothing, “if you take the money.” Wolf is earning $9.5M this year and has a club option for next year at $10M with a $1.5M buyout.
Shaun Marcum. Marcum is still recovering from an injury that has sidelined him since June 14. While Marcum isn’t going to be traded before Tuesday’s non-waiver deadline, he may be a waiver trade candidate after he returns to action.
***UPDATE***: Adam McCalvey reports (on Twitter) that Marcum’s second bullpen did not go well.
Zack Grienke. Opposing GM’s have seemingly done a 180 on Greinke in the last week. After he was skipped in the rotation, execs were quoted as saying they were “concerned,” even going so far as to call him “scary.” Other big-market execs said they wouldn’t touch Greinke because of his known anxiety issue. But after Grienke’s heavily scouted seven-inning masterpiece in Philly, he has become the prize of the trade deadline, especially since Cole Hamels is no longer available. Teams known to be fawning over the righty include the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves, and White Sox. The White Sox are pushing hard, but they don’t appear to have the pieces necessary to land Greinke; several league sources have reported that Doug Melvin’s asking price is astronomical and includes a top shortstop prospect. The Braves dropped out after refusing to part with top pitching prospect Julio Teheran, as did the Orioles after Melvin suggested Manny Machado. At this point, it looks to be a two-way battle between the Rangers and the Angels, though Texas appears to be the frontronner and is presumably very motivated after losing the last two world series. Still, their top prospect, shorstop Jurickson Profar, is reportedly off the table, even though the Brewers (and other teams) are no doubt asking about him. The Angels don’t seem too confident in their chances to land Greinke.
***UPDATE***: Greinke was traded to the Angels late Friday for a package that includes three of the Angels’ top-10 prospects: SS Jean Segura (#2), RHP Ariel Pena (#9), and RHP Johnny Hellweg (#4). The Rangers apparently didn’t come close to that offer, refusing to trade Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, or even Martin Perez. In fact, the Rangers’ best offer appears to have been IF Leurys Garcia, LHP Chad Bell, and RHP Justin Grimm; a pittance compared to what the Brewers ultimately wound up with, if I may offer my editorial opinion. The Angels’ decision to include Pena led Doug Melvin to pull the trigger, and the Angels now have perhaps the best rotation in baseball. You can read our own Ryan Smith’s analysis of the trade here.
Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod was looking like a sure candidate to be dealt at the trade deadline, but then he became the closer. Over the last week, he’s allowed 7 earned runs over 3.1 innings of work, with 7 walks against just 4 strikeouts. The Giants were reportedly in on him until they watched him pitch. K-Rod apparently alienated the Brewers, too, as Ron Roenicke announced the team would deploy a closer-by-committee.
George Kottaras. Kottaras was designated for assignment yesterday, a formality designed to open up a roster spot for returning catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Doug Melvin is reportedly attempting to find a new big-league home for the backup catcher; Kottaras was told to stay in Milwaukee while Melvin shopped him around.
***UPDATE***: The Brewers have dealt the lefty catcher to the Oakland A’s, according to Tom Haudricourt. The A’s apparently have to make a corresponding roster move, and the deal will not be announced, nor will we know who the Brewers are receiving, until Sunday. You can read Ryan Smith’s take on George Kottaras’s move here.
Nyjer Morgan. Morgan was a great pickup last year, but this year has been a struggle for the lefthanded hitter; he’s batting just .228/.299/.274. The Brewers would love to move his $2.35M salary, especially with Carlos Gomez playing so well, but there don’t appear to be many suitors right now.
Kameron Loe. Loe may be the only Brewers reliever to be moved before the trade deadline. After a two-inning, three-strikeout scoreless showing on Thursday, Loe should draw some interest from teams looking for bullpen help (i.e. Cincinatti Reds, Rangers, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, etc.). Loe has allowed just two runs over his last nine outings.
Manny Parra. Manny Parra, like Rodriguez, was a great trade candidate until this week. With plenty of scouts in attendance in Philly, Parra walked three on Tuesday and gave up four earned runs. That came on the heels of another three-walk performance the day earlier. It’s a shame, because Parra had pitched well through July up until that point (7.1 ip, 2 bb, 10 k, 1.23 era). Nothing simmering on the trade front here.
***UPDATE***: According to CBS’s Danny Knobler (via Twitter), the Brewers have received some inquiries about Parra, but may keep him and re-convert him into a starter again. That didn’t end well the first time. Parra as a starter is 23-26 with a 5.44 era, 1.692 whip, and 1.71 k/bb ratio. As a reliever, he has a 3.82 era, 1.406 whip, and 2.62 k/bb.
Corey Hart. The Brewers are listening on Hart, but would have to be “bowled over” by the offer to move him, reports Tom Haudricourt. Still, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Hart included in the Greinke deal if it nets the Brewers a top shortstop and pitching prospect.
Aramis Ramirez. Like Hart, the Brewers are listening, but the price is high. The team is not motivated to sell simply to rid their books of the $16M Ramirez is due in 2014 (he’ll earn $10M next season, too). Early reports linked the Dodgers to Ramirez, but they appear to have satisfied their desire for a bat with Hanley Ramirez.
Jose Veras. No doubt the Brewers would love to unload Veras and his 1.72 WHIP, but I can’t imagine a contender that would want to play with that kind of fire. By the same token, I couldn’t figure out why the Brewers would want to play with that kind of fire back in December. Veras has the third-most walks among MLB relievers and I can’t see him going anywhere. K-Rod is tied for fourth, incidentally.
By: Ryan Smith
It finally happened.After weeks of speculation, including some pretty crazy rumors over the last few days, the Milwaukee Brewers finally traded Zack Greinke.
After watching his stock take a hit with a rough July start followed by a mysterious “shutdown” by Manager Ron Roenicke, the enigmatic right-hander quieted his critics with a truly dominant performance on Tuesday night.
Yes, in only 87 pitches, Greinke put to rest any concerns about his health and his ability, instead causing opposing scouts and GMs to bull rush Doug Melvin’s office door.
The winning bid came from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a team that beat out AL West rival Texas for the services of Mr. Greinke.
With the move Greinke will join an Angels rotation that already includes Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Dan Haren, creating a foursome as dangerous as any in Major League Baseball.
In return, the Brewers will receive three of the Angels top ten organizational prospects, including current top-prospect Jean Segura. Along with Segura, Milwaukee will also receive RHP John Hellweg and RHP Ariel Pena.A few weeks ago, I wrote an article looking at possible trade packages that Melvin would consider in a trade for Greinke. Then, I wrote that a package centered around Segura and Hellweg would have to be considered. Landing another one of Los Angeles’s top prospects apparently put the deal over the top for Melvin, who was using the rivalry between the Angels and the Rangers to up the asking price for the former Cy Young winner.
There were reports that Melvin was looking to land a top shortstop prospect in any deal involving Greinke, and Segura fits that bill. Segura had recently been called up to the big league club for the Angels, but he only appeared in one game at that level. In 94 AA games this season, Segura produced a line of .292/.346/.404 with 7 homeruns and 50 runs scored to go along with 33 stolen bases. While he would be an immediate upgrade over the current shortstop situation in Milwaukee, I would assume the organization would start with at AA Huntsville, at least for a few weeks.Hellweg and Pena also spent all of this season thus far in AA. Hellweg started 21 games, compiling a 5-10 record with a 3.38 ERA, walking 60 while striking out 88. In his first full season as a starter, Hellweg was producing a 6.62 K/9, but he also had a 4.51 BB/9, showing once again that his biggest concern is his command. Standing at 6’9”, Hellweg has some natural downhill plane on his powerful fastball, which typically sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. While he’s still a work in progress – especially with his secondary pitches – Hellweg still represents a welcome addition to the Milwaukee farm system. In 19 starts this season, Pena was 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA, walking 42 while striking out 111. Pena has some more success with the command of his pitches, resulting in a 3.31 BB/9 and an 8.74 K/9. Pena also has a lively fastball, which is reported to sit around 95 MPH with some movement. His slider is also said to be a hard slider that tends to fall off the table, allowing it to miss some bats. His changeup will need some work, as it can tend to be a BP-fastball if he doesn’t control it well. While Pena’s ceiling doesn’t appear to be as high as Hellweg’s, he seems to have a higher floor, especially considering his ability to control his premium pitches at this point in his career.
Overall, I think GM Doug Melvin did what we wanted him to do – he got the best possible return that he could for Greinke. Texas had already stated that top-prospect SS Jurickson Profar was off-limits, and they recently made it clear that 3B Mike Olt would not be available for a two-month rental. Instead of playing a dangerous waiting game with Texas, he used their interest to get the Angels to give up three actual prospects in order to acquire Greinke. As I said before, Segura could step into the everyday lineup for Milwaukee today and be an immediate upgrade, providing Melvin with the shortstop-of-the-future that he was looking for. Hellweg and Pena give the Brewers two very talented arms to work with, and you can never have enough pitching in baseball.
To Zack Greinke, I say this: Good luck. It was a blast having you in Milwaukee.
To Doug Melvin, I say this: Good job. You did what you had to do and brought back a real package that could help this team in the long run.
To the newest Milwaukee Brewers, I say this: Welcome! You’re going to love it here. I hope you like beer.
Who am I kidding – who doesn’t like beer?
By: Ryan Smith
Now that the All-Star Game has come and gone, it’s time to get back to the grind for the Milwaukee Brewers.
For the players, that means doing whatever they can to get into the mix for the NL Central race, or at least positioning themselves to make a run at one of the Wild Card spots.For Doug Melvin, the grind is a completely different animal. For Doug Melvin, the All-Star Game provided no such break. Instead, while Ryan Braun was participating in the All-Star Game and other players were using the four-day break to spend time with their families, Doug Melvin was still wrestling with one of the biggest questions in Major League Baseball right now:
Should the Milwaukee Brewers trade Zack Greinke?
Personally, I am torn on this subject. The diehard fan in me wants to see Zack Greinke pitch as many games as possible in a Milwaukee uniform. That part of me would love to see him stay with the team through the rest of this season and lead us into the playoffs.
But then there’s the realistic side of me. As much as I would love to see Greinke remain a Brewer for the rest of 2012, I have admitted before that I think the smartest move would be to trade the star right-hander.
Now, as recently as today, there have been some rumors that Milwaukee could surprise many baseball experts and sign Greinke to an extension before he hits free agency this offseason. Jon Heyman of CBS reported that the Brewers are ready to offer Greinke a 5-year, $100 million deal to stay in Milwaukee beyond 2012. But in his report, Heyman quotes Doug Melvin as saying that “players at that level who get this close to free agency do tend to test the market.”
So while the Brewers are willing to make one final push at keeping Greinke, it seems more than likely that the front office could move him to a contender.With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at what the Brewers could be looking at as far as prospects from some interested teams. Technically, you could say that any team would be interested in acquiring a top-of-the-rotation arm like Greinke. But I thought I’d focus on a few teams that have been reported multiple times as having interest in meeting Milwaukee’s demands for Greinke: the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Angels, the Texas Rangers, and the Baltimore Orioles.
While I plan on mentioning a few potential prospects that could join the Milwaukee organization from each of these teams, it is important to note that I’m not saying we would need to receive all of these players to make the trade happen. I also am not placing a ton of weight on being position-specific when it comes to these prospects. Yes, it would be nice to add another arm to our farm system or potentially find our shortstop of the future, but when trading for top-tier prospects, you get whatever talent you can. If you have a surplus of talent at one position, then you can figure it out when you get there. Frankly, too much talent is a wonderful problem to have.
In breaking down these potential trade partners, I thought I’d rank them based on which team I thought could offer the best realistic package to Milwaukee for Greinke. Without further ado, let’s start off with…
#4 – Baltimore Orioles
Coming into the season, not many people expected Baltimore to potentially compete for any sort of playoff spot. Even after they started out 29-17, most experts figured they would come back down to Earth. While they did start to struggle a little more as the season went on, they still find themselves at 45-40, well in the thick of the American League Wild Card race. When I look at this Orioles team, I can’t help but feel a certain familiarity. Baltimore is an organization with a relatively new and impressive ballpark, a loyal fan base, and a long, recent history of losing. Sounds a lot like the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers.
In 2008, desperate to make the playoffs for the first time in 26 years, Milwaukee traded away multiple prospects – including the organization’s top prospect in Matt LaPorta – to add CC Sabathia to the top of our rotation. The rest is history.
Could Zack Greinke be Baltimore’s Sabathia?
Unlike Milwaukee in 2008, I don’t think there’s any chance that Baltimore parts with either of its top prospects, RHP Dylan Bundy and SS Manny Machado. ESPN’s Keith Law has those two guys and the second-and-third overall prospects in all of baseball. While I’d love to land one of those guys in a Greinke trade, I said earlier that I wanted these to be realistic trade scenarios.
However, one of the perks of being one of the league’s worst teams over the last decade is that you have the chance to acquire a lot of talent in the draft. While Bundy and Machado are all but untouchable, I think Doug Melvin would at least have to listen to an offer that included 2B/3B Jonathan Schoop. Schoop probably won’t be a defensive star in the league, but he does have the arm to play third. More importantly, his bat certainly profiles there. The guy can flat-out hit. Not only that, but he has also shown the ability to make adjustments when he has been promoted to a more challenging level. 1B/3B Nick Delmonico would also be a decent player to acquire, though he is not on the same level as Schoop. As far as pitching is concerned, I would like to see the Brewers obtain either LHP Eduardo Rodriguez or RHP Parker Bridwell.
Like I said, Baltimore has talent in their farm system. But if Schoop isn’t part of any deal, Doug Melvin should just hang up.
Ideal Potential Deal: Greinke for 2B/3B Jonathan Schoop, LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, multiple other minor league prospects
#3 – Los Angeles Angels
The Angels’ farm system graduated its top prospect this season when Mike Trout was promoted to the big league club. All he’s done since then is make the All-Star Game and head to the front of the line for the AL MVP.
With Trout out of the system, 2B/SS Jean Segura becomes the top prospect that the Angels have to offer. In AA this season, Segura has produced a .286/.332/.398 line. He’s not going to tear the cover off the ball, but he is a hitter who has the ability to spray line drives all over the field while providing solid defense up the middle.
RHP Garrett Richards has split his time this year between AAA and the big leagues. He hasn’t necessarily had the success you’d like to see, struggling with his location (4.71 BB/9) at times. Still, he’s a good player with a fastball that stays 94-98 late into games. RHP John Hellweg is another pitcher with a powerful fastball, but he also struggles with his command (4.88 BB/9). However, he’s only in AA and has some time to work on those command issues.
Ideal Potential Deal: Greinke for 2B/SS Jean Segura, RHP John Hellweg, multiple other minor league prospects
#2 – Atlanta Braves
The rest of the teams on this list are not in the same boat as Baltimore. All three of these teams have had recent success. They aren’t going to be making a deal for Greinke just to make the playoffs. If these teams try to acquire the right-hander, it is because they think he could be the final piece to their World Series puzzle. Atlanta is a team that almost needs to do something because the division title is well within their reach. Philadelphia has fallen off drastically, Miami lacks consistency, New York seems to be winning with two players (Dickey and Wright) doing most of the work, and Washington will soon be faced with an innings limit on their ace.
If Atlanta ends up being the team to land Greinke, Milwaukee should expect to receive multiple pitching prospects in return. Atlanta seems to have quite a bit of pitching talent in their system, while they seem to lack position players that can hit consistently.
Atlanta’s top prospect, RHP Julio Teheran, has had some difficulties this season with the long-ball (1.68 HR/9), but his xFIP of 3.47 suggests that the rest of his stuff has been pretty effective. He’s only 21 and playing in AAA, and he has a decent fastball-changeup combo that he can throw for strikes.
After Teheran, there is a bit of a drop-off. Arodys Vizcaino would have been a guy to target, but he underwent Tommy John Surgery in March. Randall Delgado is an arm that would be nice to add to your system, but he has been pitching at the major league level this season and hasn’t exactly been blowing anyone away, which leads me to believe he might be a bullpen arm waiting to happen. Christian Bethancourt might be the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues. He calls a good game and has the arm to shut down any team’s running game. I’m not sure if Atlanta would part with him, but I wouldn’t blame Melvin for holding out for both Teheren and Bethancourt. After all, Greinke is the best arm on the market.
Ideal Potential Deal: Greinke for RHP Julio Teheren and C Christian Bethancourt
#1 – Texas Rangers
I’ll admit that the Atlanta deal would be one I could live with. But I’ve been saying for quite some time now that if we are going to trade Greinke, I want Texas to be on the receiving end. Texas is in a unique situation because they have appeared in the World Series the last two seasons while still producing one of the top farm systems in Major League Baseball. In fact, Keith Law ranked the Rangers as having the seventh-best farm system in all of baseball.
Making it to two straight World Series is pretty impressive, but the Rangers failed to win it all each year. They also watched their top pitchers in each season (Cliff Lee in ’10, C.J. Wilson in ’11) walk away at season’s end. They added Yu Darvish to the top of their rotation before the start of the season, and then they signed Roy Oswalt to strengthen that rotation. Still, finding a way to acquire Greinke’s arm could certainly put them in the driver’s seat to be the AL’s World Series representative for the third consecutive year.
I mentioned earlier that Baltimore had two of the top three prospects in all of baseball. Texas has the other. SS Jurickson Profar is everything you’d want in a baseball player. He hits for average, hits for some power, plays excellent defense, and keeps improving even as he reaches more challenging levels. Profar would be even more hands-off than either of Baltimore’s top prospects.
Now, I know this isn’t likely because they are using him this season, but wouldn’t Profar’s excellence make current SS Elvis Andrus an interesting trade chip? Andrus is an excellent defender who also seems to be able to hit for a consistent average. I know I said that position wouldn’t play a role in these scenarios, but the Brewers certainly lack that shortstop of the future. Hell, the Brewers lack a shortstop of the present. Andrus would be a nice find for Milwaukee.
As far as other prospects go, I’ve been a fan of 3B Mike Olt for the last year or so. He’s a slick-fielding third baseman who can swing the bat as well. This year in AA, he’s produced a line of .292/.403/.574. Sound like a nice guy to add to Milwaukee’s system? I thought so.
As far as pitching is concerned, Texas did promote LHP Martin Perez up from AAA this year, but he’d still be a nice guy to add that could help fill the spot Greinke would leave behind. RHP Neil Ramirez would be another guy that would add some depth and talent to our farm system. But the pitcher I would most like to snag in a Greinke deal would be RHP Cody Buckel. He just turned 20 this year and he really seems to be figuring it out. He seems to be striking guys out (7.25 K/9) while not allowing the long ball (0.81 HR/9) in AA.
Ideal Potential Deal: Greinke for SS Elvis Andrus, 3B Mike Olt, and RHP Cody Buckel
Maybe I’m aiming too high with that last deal. Maybe Texas wouldn’t give up all of that for a two or three month rental of Greinke.
Then again, maybe getting to the World Series isn’t enough for this team. Maybe getting there two years in a row only to walk away empty-handed has pushed them to a point where they are willing to sacrifice some of their future talent to win it all now.
And Zack Greinke could certainly help them win it all now.
Yes, it would be painful to see Greinke go. But at the same time, I hated seeing Prince Fielder leave. I hated the fact that we got a late first-round draft pick in return for him.
If Greinke is going to go, let’s make the most of it. Let’s restock our farm system.
Instead of letting the franchise start a freefall, let’s set it up for a quick rebound.