Zack Greinke was not only the best player on the Royals in 2009 but he was the best pitcher in the American League. Last season he regressed significantly but was still good. After telling the Royals he no longer wanted to be there, nearly every team had a chance to get him. After about a month of speculation, a winner emerged when the Milwaukee Brewers traded four players for Greinke.
The breakdown is after the jump.
Milwaukee Brewers receive Zack Greinke, SS Yuneisky Betancourt, and $2 million cash
When your starters combine for a 4.65 ERA changes need to be made. By adding Greinke to a rotation already featuring Yovnni Gallardo, the team now has an excellent 1-2 punch that rivals the Cardinals in the N.L. Central. The team also recently acquired SP Shaun Marcum from Toronto, penciling him in as their new #3 starter. The complete face lift should allow Milwaukee to shave over a half of a run off their starter's ERA last season.
Additionally, the Brewers receive Betancourt who prior to last season may have been the worst player in baseball. A good season from him and he's league average. I think Milwaukee realizes this and had Kansas City include $2 million in case they want to buy out his contract at the end of the 2011 season.
In order to obtain Greinke, KC traded away two of it's top pitching prospects, a center fielder, and their starting shortstop who is only 24 years old. This may seem like a steep price but neither of the pitchers are going to make an impact this season while the two hitters still have some serious flaws. The real impetus behind this trade, however, is Prince Fielder's pending free agency. Milwaukee has tried to re-sign Prince but have been rebuffed as he has been outspoken about testing free agency. What it will take to sign him, I don't know, but the Brewers seem to think they don't have the means to do so. This narrows Milwakee's window to 2011 and possibly 2012 (if Prince is offered arbitration and accepts) as a chance to win it all. Doug Melvin realized this and made his move.