Found March 17, 2012 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
SURPRISE, Ariz. The Milwaukee Brewers long admired Alcides Escobar's ability at shortstop, so much so that they parted with longtime starter J.J. Hardy to make room for the young prospect at the major league level. With just two big league seasons under his belt, Escobar was rewarded with a four-year contract extension this week.Unfortunately for the Brewers, he signed that deal with the Kansas City Royals.Escobar, 25, was one of four highly regarded prospects sent by the Brewers to Kansas City for right-hander Zack Greinke in December 2010. The deal obviously worked for Milwaukee, where Greinke went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA last season and helped lead the Brewers into the playoffs for the second time in four seasons.Some have questioned whether Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin gave up too much to land the former Cy Young winner. In addition to Escobar, the Royals got center fielder Lorenzo Cain and minor league pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi."We're in a position where we are trying to win now," Melvin said. "The Royals were building for the future. How good those players we sent to Kansas City are still remains to be seen."Right now, it appears those four players will be instrumental in helping the Royals try to get out of the American League Central basement, much like Hardy, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun did for the Brewers in the middle portion of the decade.Since 1990, the Royals have had just three winning seasons, the last coming in 2003 when they went 83-79. Kansas City manager Ned Yost knew plenty about the new additions last winter and knows a thing or two about helping turn around the fortunes of a moribund franchise: he was the Brewers' manager from 2003 until his dismissal with 12 games left in the 2008 season, as the Brewers limped toward their first playoff appearance in 26 years.Locking up Escobar for four years is a big step toward a similar turnaround in Kansas City."I've loved this kid from the moment I laid eyes on him," Yost told reporters at the Royals' spring training facility. "He's a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop. Personally, I think he's the best shortstop in the American League, if not all of baseball."Defense was never a concern with Escobar. His offense, however, has been a work in progress since he came to the major leagues. A career .293 hitter in the minors, Escobar hit just .235 in 2010, his first full-time season in Milwaukee. Last season, he hit .254 with 21 doubles and 46 RBI, but Yost is confident that with time, Escobar will become a much better hitter."We've talked on many occasions how I think he's going to continue to grow offensively," Yost said. "He's just scratching the surface of what he's going to be able to accomplish offensively."Escobar isn't the only of the four prospects making a good impression. Cain, also 25, looked like he may be the Brewers' center fielder of the future. He took over for a struggling Carlos Gomez late in the 2010 season and finished with a .306 average and 11 doubles in 46 games.He spent a majority of last season with Omaha, the Royals' Class AAA affiliate, where he hit .312 with 28 doubles, 16 home runs and 81 RBI. In six games with the big league club, Cain hit .273 (6-for-22).On Friday, Cain went 2-for-3 in the Royals' 9-4 Cactus League victory over the Brewers, raising his spring training average to .480 (12-for-25). He also made an impressive play in the field, running down a long drive to left-center by Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy."That was a tough ball," Yost said. "The ball kept going. It just carried and carried and carried. You could see Lorenzo had that extra gear that he could get into to get it. Thats a nice attribute to have out there."Jeffress, the Brewers first-round pick in 2006, also went against his former team Friday. He allowed two runs on three hits in an inning of work and in four spring outings has a 2.67 ERA in five innings of work.The 24-year-old appeared in 14 games for the Royals last season, going 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA. Kansas City thinks it has a nucleus of players to snap a long string of losing. The Brewers are happy with the way things turned out on their end but acknowledge they gave up some quality along the way."Those guys we sent to Kansas City are good players." Melvin said. "They'd be helping us right now if they were here."Follow Andrew Wagner on Twitter.

The Alcides Escobar Extension: Indispensable Notes

You can try to dispense of these notes on the Alcides Escobar extension, but you won’t be able to: as the title of this post suggests, they’re indispensible. Regarding Alcides Escobar, The Extension He Signed Escobar and the Royals agreed Thursday to a four-year, $10.5 million extension that includes a pair of club options that could bring the overall value of the contract to...

Brewers' farm system remains strong

PHOENIX After the Milwaukee Brewers traded for starting pitchers Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke in December 2010, there was a vocal minority of Brewers fans and baseball observers who suggested that general manager destroyed the team's farm system. To be fair, Melvin did pay a hefty cost, giving up four of the organization's top prospects to land Greinke and a potential...

Clint Robinson sent by Royals to Triple-A Omaha

The Kansas City Royals optioned Clint Robinson, who hit .326 with 23 home runs and 100 RBIs last season for Omaha, to their Pacific Coast League Triple-A affiliate. The 27-year-old became just the third player in Texas League history to win the Triple Crown with a .335 average, 29 homers and 98 RBIs in 2010. The Royals also optioned outfielders David Lough, who hit .316 in 14 spring...

Shaun Marcum May Start Season on DL

This has gone unnoticed to some degree among the flood of basketball-related excitement, but something's up with Shaun Marcum: The righty has been having shoulder trouble in camp, to the point where he might start the season on the disabled list. At the beginning of camp, it was reported that Marcum was dealing with some stiffness/soreness in his shoulder. The Brewers put him...

Mendoza pitches well into 5th inning vs. Brews

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Luis Mendoza continues to make his case for a rotation spot. Mendoza allowed one run and two hits and struck out seven in 4 2-3 innings Friday and Chris Getz drove in three runs and the Kansas City Royals defeated a Milwaukee Brewers split squad 9-4 Friday. Mendoza did not allow a hit until Aramis Ramirez led off the fifth with a single. "He pitched...

Two Royals, one pair of pants

Seen here are Kansas City Royals' teammates Everett Teaford (5-11, 155 pounds) and Tim Collins (5-7, 170 pounds) squeezing into fellow 'mate Jonathan Broxton's (6-4, 290 pounds) pants. This photo should end any and all debate on whether or not MLB players take Spring Training seriously.

Fantasy Forecast: Milwaukee Brewers

Author: Andrew SwansonAs Brewers fans slowly thaw this spring from a cold and unforgiving winter, they will be pleasantly surprised to see a Milwaukee team that addressed a much needed weak spot this off-season: Starting Pitching. With the additions of Zack Greinke and Sean Marcum to a rotation already consisting Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf, the Brewers may now have enough pitching...

MLB 2012 Preview: St. Louis Cardinals

Oh St. Louis, I have good news, bad news and awful news. The good news is: St. Louis will be raising the World Championship banner over Busch Stadium Opening Day. The Bad News is: you’re going to be raising it without Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols. The awful news: Rafael Furcal is your shortstop for the next two seasons. We’ll get into how bad he is later, but really it...

Royals ink SS Escobar to four-year deal

The Kansas City Royals signed shortstop Alcides Escobar to a four-year contract Thursday. The deal is worth $10.5 million and includes two team options. The 25-year-old Escobar batted .254 with four home runs, 46 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in his first season with Kansas City. He was acquired in the deal that sent pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers in December 2010.

Alex Gordon: 2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper

Author: Andrew SwansonSuccess is not something that comes quickly for most major league baseball players. While there are a few exceptions to the rule like Buster Posey and Jason Heyward, most major league players spend the early stages of their careers learning how to play in the big leagues. In some cases, prospects struggle to a point in which they are almost out of baseball...

Brewers-Rangers rained out in fourth inning

PHOENIX (AP) -- The game between the Milwaukee Brewers and a Texas Rangers split squad was rained out in the fourth inning on Sunday. The Brewers scored four runs in the bottom of the third to take a 6-4 lead. After Manny Parra pitched a scoreless fourth, Michael Kirkman threw one pitch in the bottom of the inning before the umpires called for the tarp. After a 12-minute rain delay...

Estrada and Brewers' backups fall to Mariners

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Felix Hernandez limited Milwaukee to one hit in six scoreless innings in his second-to-last outing before Seattle leaves for Japan, helping the Mariners beat the Brewers 6-1 in a split-squad game Friday. Hernandez threw 80 pitches, 50 for strikes. He struck out six and walked one. Hernandez will likely make his final spring start Wednesday before the team departs...

Dodgers Dee Gordon steals second after walk (Video)

It's not that often we see someone steal second base on a walk but that's exactly what happened during a recent spring training game between the LA Dodgers and the Kansas City Royals. Watch as the Dodgers Dee Gordon walks on five pitches and while the Royals have the heads down, Gordon decides to take second: (Courtesy of Sports Kings)

Royals 9, Brewers 4

Luis Mendoza held Milwaukee's split squad hitless until the fifth inning and the Kansas City Royals beat the Brewers 9-4 Friday. Mendoza struck out seven in 4 2-3 innings. He allowed one run on two hits without a walk. Mendoza was the Pacific Coast League 2011 pitcher of the year. He has given up one run and five hits in 10 2-3 innings in three spring starts, striking out 11...

The Payoff Pitch And Reckless Kelly

This Saturday, Ivie League Productions brings you The Payoff Pitch. An internet radio broadcast, Full Spectrum Baseball presents The Payoff Pitch is hosted every week by Jay Ferraro and Ben Nisman.  The two actors break down all things baseball and fantasy baseball in the hour long show every Saturday and Sunday. This week, Robert Ford from 610 Radio in Kansas City will join the...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.