Figuring out the Zack Grienke-to-Milwaukee rumor

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Saturday night saw the birth of a shocking rumor: a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel blogger reports that the Brewers and Royals had agreed to a trade, set to be announced Monday, in which Milwaukee would land Zack Greinke for shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.  Yuniesky Betancourt and cash would also go to Milwaukee.

Soon afterwards an OnMilwaukee.com staff writer followed suit, reporting the same deal without Betancourt’s name and with Brewers prospect Jake Odorizzi joining the other three youngsters in being Kansas City bound.

The big names have been quiet all along.  Ken Rosenthal, Buster Olney, Jon Heyman and the rest have all failed to weigh in on the reports.  The Journal-Sentinel’s primary Brewers writers Tom Haudricourt did work on the rumor and failed to confirm or deny anything from Milwaukee or Kansas City sources.

So that’s where we are as of 3 am.   I figured the first report was bogus and I’m still leaning that way, but that no one has stepped forward to deny the rumor has given it traction.  The Brewers have been mentioned in connection with Greinke, and it does seem like the kind of package Kansas City would want in return.  Escobar is the long-term answer at shortstop they crave, Cain would be the odds-on favorite to start for the team in center field and Jeffress, while risky, has big-time potential out of the pen.  Odorizzi, a potential third starter, would be another nice piece.

But for now, it looks like we won’t find out whether there’s any truth to this until the morning at least.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.