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.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.