Figuring out the Zack Grienke-to-Milwaukee rumor

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Saturday night saw the birth of a shocking rumor: a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel blogger reports that the Brewers and Royals had agreed to a trade, set to be announced Monday, in which Milwaukee would land Zack Greinke for shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.  Yuniesky Betancourt and cash would also go to Milwaukee.

Soon afterwards an OnMilwaukee.com staff writer followed suit, reporting the same deal without Betancourt’s name and with Brewers prospect Jake Odorizzi joining the other three youngsters in being Kansas City bound.

The big names have been quiet all along.  Ken Rosenthal, Buster Olney, Jon Heyman and the rest have all failed to weigh in on the reports.  The Journal-Sentinel’s primary Brewers writers Tom Haudricourt did work on the rumor and failed to confirm or deny anything from Milwaukee or Kansas City sources.

So that’s where we are as of 3 am.   I figured the first report was bogus and I’m still leaning that way, but that no one has stepped forward to deny the rumor has given it traction.  The Brewers have been mentioned in connection with Greinke, and it does seem like the kind of package Kansas City would want in return.  Escobar is the long-term answer at shortstop they crave, Cain would be the odds-on favorite to start for the team in center field and Jeffress, while risky, has big-time potential out of the pen.  Odorizzi, a potential third starter, would be another nice piece.

But for now, it looks like we won’t find out whether there’s any truth to this until the morning at least.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.