Angels acquire Zack Greinke from the Brewers

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UPDATE: Morosi confirms that it’s Greinke for Segura, Hellweg and Pena.

By the way, Segura, Hellweg and Pena were ranked as Angels’ second, fourth and ninth best prospects by Baseball America coming into the season.

7:38 PM Nothing official yet, but Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes that prospect right-handers Ariel Pena and Johnny Hellweg are most likely being sent to Milwaukee along with Jean Segura. If so, that’s a pretty nice haul for a two-month rental who can’t be offered arbitration.

7:24 PM ET: Things just got very interesting in the American League West.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Angels have acquired right-hander Zack Greinke from the Brewers.

The Brewers are getting prospect shortstop Jean Segura and two Double-A pitchers in return. Rosenthal writes that the deal is done, but the “finishing touches” are still being applied.

Greinke, an impending free agent, wraps up his tenure with the Brewers with a 3.67 ERA in 49 starts over two seasons. The Brewers recently offered him a contract extension, reportedly in the range of five years and $100 million, but the two sides weren’t able to make progress on an agreement.

With Greinke, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson as their big three, it’s safe to say the Angels could go toe-to-toe with anyone if they make the playoffs. They could be even more dangerous if Dan Haren and Ervin Santana get back on track.

The AL West-leading Rangers might have had a bigger need for the starter than the Angels did, so it will be interesting to see whether they intensify their efforts to land Josh Johnson from the Marlins or possibly James Shields from the Rays.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉