Report: Royals trade Zack Greinke to Brewers

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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 OnMilwaukee.com, sources tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com 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 MLB.com 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 SI.com, 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.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.