Zack Greinke is returning to the American League, reports Jon Morosi ; the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner has been traded to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for three of the top 10 prospects in the Angels system.
The Angels have gained yet another pitcher with ace abilities; Greinke joins 2011 Cy Young runner-up Jered Weaver and 77.5 million dollar southpaw CJ Wilson. This relegates the once rock-solid Dan Haren to #4.
Greinke dominated the American League in 2009, going 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA (205 ERA+) and league-best 1.073 WHIP. Since then, the righty has pitched much closer to average, although his peripheral statistics suggest that he’s been the victim of terribly defense (which is what happens when you spend two years with Yuniesky Betancourt backing you up at shortstop. Greinke has averaged almost a strikeout per inning since winning his award.
In exchange, the Brewers have received the Angels shortstop prospect Jean Segura, who was ranked as the #55 prospect by Baseball America going into the 2012. This is a far cry from Jurickson Profar of the Rangers system – but it didn’t appear that he was on the table anyway. Ultimately, the Rangers might have parted ways with Elvis Andrus to promote Profar (it was rumored that Melvin requested a copy of his contract) – but this way, Melvin acquired a young, cost-controlled shortstop for longer than three seasons.
The 22 year old Segura, who made his major league debut on Tuesday, had hit .310/.364/.438 in parts of 6 minor league seasons and has stolen 135 bases at a 78% clip in that time. Interestingly, he moved from 2nd to shortstop after the 2010 season and was fast-tracked, going from AA to the big leagues this past year.
Doug Melvin also acquired a pair of 23 year old starting pitchers for his ace: John Hellweg and Ariel Pena.
Hellweg, the Angels #4 overall prospect, has seen his strikeout rate drop since becoming a full-time starter, going from over 10 K/9 in 2010 and 2011 to 6.6 at AA Arkansas this year. Meanwhile, he has struggled mightily with getting the ball over the plate, walking 6.4 guys per 9. For the year, he has a 1.379 WHIP.
Pena has also had issues with control. The Angels #9 overall prospect has walked 4 men per 9 in parts of 6 seasons. He has started for almost that entire time, and has struck out almost exactly one batter per inning.
As a Brewer fan, I certainly acknowledge that this season is over and that it was time for Greinke to leave. I like the acquisition of a player who looks like he can be a mainstay at shortstop for years to come – like the Brewers thought they had in JJ Hardy and Alcides Escobar. This will be a welcome change in a team that has employed Yuniesky Betancourt, and Cesar Izturis as their primary shortstops for the past couple years.
However, the two starting pitching prospects look like they have a lot of issues to hammer out, and at the end of the day, Melvin failed to obtain a single prospect in Baseball America’s top-50 when he had multiple suitors with packed systems. This could, of course, simply be the result of the new rules on compensation picks, which lowered the stock of a rental – even one of Greinke’s ability.