Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 7/27/12

The Angels are proving once again that they will do almost anything to build a World Series contender.

The team reportedly has agreed to a trade with the Brewers that sends Zack Greinke to Anaheim in exchange for Jean Segura, Ariel Pena, and Johnny Hellweg — three strong prospects in the Angels’ system (more on each player below). That’s a big price for the Angels to pay for someone who will be a free agent after the season.

Greinke, who won the 2009 AL Cy Young Award, is making $13.5 million this season and turned down an offer for over $100 million from the Brewers this month. CBS’ Jon Heyman reported that the Angels were high on Greinke’s list along with the Cardinals and Braves, so that bodes well for the Angels’ chances of re-signing him after the season.

The Rangers, Braves, and White Sox were also in the mix for Greinke, but the Angels won the deal. The other teams can still trade for Josh Johnson and James Shields who are also on the market.

The trade represents the failed pursuits by the Brewers. Two years ago they went all-in by trading for Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum with the hopes of making one final run at a World Series before losing Prince Fielder to free agency. They gave it their best shot and made it to the NLCS last season before losing to the eventual champion Cardinals.

They gave up Brett Lawrie (to Toronto), Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odirizzi to get Greinke and Marcum. They have an NLCS appearance and three prospects in return to show for it.

The Angels are currently a wild card team in the American League and seemed a step below the Yankees and Rangers. With Greinke, they have the best playoff pitching rotation in the American League, and one that can help them shut down such powerful offenses. They already proved in the offseason they were committed to making a World Series run by signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, so why not take an extra step to solidify the rotation like they did? I love the move for Anaheim, even if they are giving up some good players in return.

Let’s take a look at each prospect in detail:

Jean Segura – 22-year-old 5’11″ shortstop from the Dominican Republic signed by the Angels in 2008. He’s currently hitting .294/.346/.404 at Double-A Arkansas (via Milb.com) with 33 stolen bases, although he’s been caught stealing 13 times. He had a triple-double in 130 games with Single-A Cedar Rapids in 2010 hitting 24 doubles, 12 triples, and 10 home runs. His full profile at The Baseball Cube.

Ariel Pena – 23-year-old 6’3″ right handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic signed by the team in 2009. He’s 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 19 starts for Double-A Arkansas. Had 180 strikeouts in 151.2 innings at Single-A last year (lifetime 9.09 K/9). His full profile at The Baseball Cube.

John Hellweg – 23-year-old 6’7″ right handed pitcher drafted in the 16th round in 2008. He’s 5-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 21 starts for Double-A Arkansas. His full profile at The Baseball Cube.

Segura is the centerpiece of the trade (the Brewers really wanted a shortstop). He was the second-rated prospect in the Angels’ system, according to Baseball America, and based on his minor league numbers he could turn out to be better than Erick Aybar. Pena and Hellweg both look like solid prospects with Pena more promising. They could both end up in Milwaukee’s starting rotation by the end of the season.

The entire package was a strong haul for Milwaukee considering they were losing Greinke at the end of the season. But he could be the player that helps pitch the Angels to the World Series. I like the trade for both sides.

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