With Zack Greinke, the Brewers are going for the gold

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News of the reported trade that would send Zack Greinke to Milwaukee is already sending shockwaves around the baseball world. We’re all still catching our breath from the surprising deal, but there are already many questions about why the Brewers would do this trade right now.

As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel just pointed out on Twitter, the one thing we do know is that Prince Fielder is not going to be traded. Fielder will be a free agent after the 2011 season and barring something out of the ordinary, he is fully expected to test the open market. This is likely the Brewers’ last chance to win with Fielder in the fold, so they are going for it.

The Brewers will now have Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf as an impressive front four with Chris Narveson and likely Chris Capuano duking it out for the final spot in the rotation. The Cardinals are comparable and the Reds have depth, but this rotation has tremendous upside, potentially rivaling the Giants for the second best front four in the National League (with obvious deference to Phillies at No. 1).

Offense wasn’t a problem for the Brewers last season. In fact, they were fourth in the league in runs, second in homers and third in OPS. With many of the same pieces returning in 2011, that shouldn’t change too much. What really hurt Milwaukee was their starting rotation. Their starters finished second from the bottom in the National League with a 4.65 ERA. With this new front four, they have the pieces in place to be a contending team.

Of course, it cost them. They gave up second base prospect Brett Lawrie for Marcum and now Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and a player to be named later for Greinke. That’s a big chunk of what wasn’t an impressive farm system in the  first place. It could come back to bite them in the long run, but you can’t say that Brewers general manager Doug Melvin isn’t trying to win. New skipper Ron Roenicke must feel pretty darn good this morning.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.