Zack Greinke

Report: Royals trade Zack Greinke to Brewers


We all went to bed waiting for a national reporter to come out and say if the rumors we were hearing last night were true and it turns out they are.

As first reported by Jim Breen of Bernie’s Blog and then Andrew Wagner of, sources tell Buster Olney of that the Brewers have acquired Zack Greinke from the Royals for outfielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar and prospect pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. The Brewers are expected to receive another major league player in the deal, though his identity has not been confirmed.

The original deal mentioned by Breen had Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million going to the Brewers for Cain, Escobar and Jeffress. Wagner was the first to mention the addition of Jeffress to the deal. Adam McCalvy of reported early this morning that the two sides were closing in on a deal, but he spoke to the agent for Cain and Jeffress, who had not been informed of any trade. The trade would also require Greinke’s approval, since the Brewers are believed to be on his “no-trade list.”

But let’s focus on the main part of this shocking deal. If true, Greinke will join Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf to give Milwaukee the type of front four that can go toe-to-toe with the Cardinals from Day One in the NL Central. The 27-year-old right-hander saw a drop in strikeouts this past season, but his velocity was just as good as ever. He should do quite well with the switch to the National League.

Some will say that the Royals didn’t get enough here and perhaps that is true, but they were able to acquire a shortstop and a center fielder, two pieces they didn’t have in their impressive minor league pipeline. Did you really want Melky Cabrera and Yuniesky Betancourt up the middle for this team next season? Because that’s what it would have been. Greinke has two years and $27 million left on his contract and it was pretty obvious he wanted out. My only gripe is that Odorizzi won’t be ready to contribute in the big leagues right away, but the Royals aren’t exactly set up to compete next season.

Lastly, I just wanted to say, go bloggers! Everyone doubted Breen, but he went with the story and is now vindicated. Well done.

UPDATE: Peter Gammons and Tom Haudricourt are reporting that Jeremy Jeffress may not be part of the trade. They are both hearing a player to be named later.

UPDATE II: Here are the full details of the trade. According to Jon Heyman of, the Brewers will receive Zack Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million to cover Betancourt’s salary from the Royals for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and a player to be named later. The trade will be officially announced later today.

UPDATE III: Ken Rosenthal, Tom Haudricourt and Adam McCalvy have all heard that Jeffress may still be the player to be named later. Stay tuned.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.

“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.

Four. More. Years.