Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Season Post Greinke

Yesterday morning I received the following text from a friend and fellow Royals' diehard:

"Now that the Brewers are in the NLCS and Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt are doing well, would you reassess the trade? Jeremy Jeffress and Lorenzo Cain hardly saw time and Alcides Escobar is really all we had to show for it."

I told my friend that instead of attempting to answer this question in a text, I would reply to him in the form of a blog post, so here we go.

Before saying anything else, at the time of the trade I commented that there is no way Yuniesky Betancourt should be the starting shortstop for a team expecting to win rings. Now though, the Brewers are doing everything they can to prove me wrong. Betanourt, despite posting a .252/.271/.381 line, has retained the starting shortstop job throughout the season.

In the playoffs Betancourt has upped that line to .278/.316/.444 and has came up with a couple of timely hits. With that being said I don't believe that Betancourt's line in any way could make this trade look worse from a Royals perspective. The fact that the Brewers are in the NLCS seems to have come in spite of Yuniesky Betancourt not as a result of his performance.

Zack Greinke on the other has been huge in the Brewers' magical run this season. His era is 3.83 and he has a 16-6 record. But looking even closer he has posted the highest K rate of his career at 10.54, with a walk rate of just 2.36. His xFIP is 2.56 and it wouldn't be hard to make the argument that this is the best season of his career outside of 2009.

Really though Greinke is doing exactly what we expected him to do this season, dominate. Well until the postseason, where he has had trouble staying low in the zone and has become a bit home run prone.

So what about for the Royals? As my friend stated Jeffress and Cain hardly saw time. This is true. Jeffress's stock definitely took a hit as he proved ineffective in the Major League pen and after transitioning to the rotation in Northwest Arkansas saw his control totally fall apart.

Jeffress's stuff is still there and I expect him to refine his command enough to be a useful piece in a Big League pen. However, his season was definitely a big disappointment.

Cain on the other hand did nothing to cause his stock to drop. He didn't receive hardly any big league time, because of the unexpectedly outstanding play of Melky Cabrera, not because he under performed.

In fact, with another season in the books I'm much more excited about Lorenzo Cain then I was at the time of the trade. Reports are his defense was absolutely spectacular in Omaha, all while hitting .312/.380/.497 with 16 home runs and 16 steals.

The outfield's performance in 2011 was obviously a huge plus for the Royals. They now have four viable solutions entering 2012. Should they trade Cabrera, Cain can step in and if they don't they can have depth while also controlling inventory and pushing Cain's arbitration and free agency back another season.

My friend is correct in stating that Alcides Escobar was all we had to show for the trade in 2011. Escobar was excellent defensively and thanks to an incredibly hot streak in the middle of the season, was passable on the offensive side of things. Moving forward Escobar has provided the Royals with at least a temporary solution at short stop and if the offense can continue to progress he could be a cornerstone.

Of course there is one more piece to this trade that has been totally forgotten here. This isn't the first time that I have discussed this trade with a friend and they have forgotten about the Royals' fourth piece: Jake Odorizzi.

Out of all the players involved in the trade, Odorizzi raised his stock more than anyone in 2011. If he can fix his problem with elevating his pitches in the zone he will be a front of the rotation guy in short order. Odorizzi is on the short list of prospects that can be argued for the top spot in the system.

At the time of the trade I believed that it could truly work out great for both parties. It was obvious the Royals HAD to move Greinke. Shelving a pitch in mid-August, threatening to no show for Spring Training, and who knows what else behind close doors. He had to be moved.

The trade was made by the Brewers to better contend in 2011 and 2012. The Trade was made by the Royals to better contend in 2013 and on. Obviously the Brewers should look like they have won the deal after 2011. But nothing that happened in 2011 would suggest that the deal is any worse for the Royals moving forward.

Major League Baseball trades are designed to be wins for both parties. It isn't fantasy football when one guy/girl is most likely getting ripped off when the deal occurs. Just because the trade has worked out awesomely for the Brewers, doesn't mean that it can't wind up being a win for Kansas City as well. It is simply way to early to tell. For now though, the trade looks just as good from Kansas City's perspective as it did when it was completed.


  1. "Big Game" Betancourt with a two run bomb.....Yuni, Yuni, please come home. We're sorry we hated you. (Hee-Hee)

  2. Why is it not a shock that Betancourt is coming up big in the playoffs? ha