Monday, December 20, 2010

The Zach Greinke Effect for the Twins

I was wrong and yes, I admit it.  Maybe it wasn't so much being wrong as it was wishful thinking.
The big part of my Twins offseason blueprint was to bring in the services of Zach Greinke. After the events of this weekend that will not be part of the plan for the 2011 Twins.

Greinke has been traded from the Kansas City Royals, a fellow AL Central team, to the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Brewers emptied their farm system to complete this trade to set-up an all-or-nothing attitude for the 2011 season.  Both Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks are scheduled to become free agents at the end of next season so the time is "now"for the Brew Crew.

There are going to be some definite impacts on the Twins in what I like to call the "Zach Greinke Effect."

Carl Pavano
One of the first effects of the Greinke trade is that Doug Melvin has said that the Brew Crew is no longer interested in Carl Pavano.  The Brewers had yet to make an offer to Pavano but that still means that there is one less team fighting with the Twins for the Pavano's right arm.  Jon Morosi of Fox Sports wrote that it is "more likely than ever that Carl Pavano will re-sign with the Minnesota Twins."

AL Central (Present Day)
Another easy to see effect of the Greinke's exodus from KC is the fact that the Twins won't face him as many times in the season.  With the Royals being in the AL Central the Twins had to counter Greinke on four occasions last season.  The Twins seemed to have Greinke's number last season as he finished the year with an 0-4 record against them with an 8.18 ERA.  He will be playing on the Twins National League "rival" so the Twins could face Greinke a couple of times in Interleague play.  Out of all of the AL Central teams Greinke has had the worst ERA (4.90) when he has gone against the Twins.  This has led him to a (3-8) overall record in decisions against the Twins.  With how well the Twins have done against Greinke it might actually be a negative that Greinke is out of the division.

AL Central (Future)
It is hard to judge a trade the day after it happens.  The players that the Royals got in exchange for Greinke could end up being duds.  On the other hand all of these players could live up to their potential and make the Royals a considerable threat in the very near future.  According to the 2010 Baseball America Prospect Rankings for the Brewers the Royals just got the #1 (Alcides Escobar), #8 (Lorenzo Cain), #9 (Jake Odorizzi), and "Best Fastball" (Jeremy Jeffress) in the Milwaukee organization.  Phil Rodgers of the Chicago Tribune even claimed that the Royals might be able to pull off a "Twins-like run" in the AL Central because of the talent they received in this trade.

Was Zach Greinke ever going to be a member of the Minnesota Twins? No.
The Royals saw no reason to trade him in the division and this make sense.  They didn't want to have to face Greinke on a more consistent basis.  From the sounds of it the Twins tried to get involved with the Royals but they didn't want anything to do with the Twins.  Another factor might have been that the Twins weren't going to put together a package as good as the one that Brewers put together.  The Twins weren't going to part ways with their number one prospect, Kyle Gibson.  The Brewers were able to offer their number one prospect and that was most likely a deciding factor.

The pressure is on the Royals now to develop this young talent and put a winning product on the field. And that's something that they haven't been able to do for quite some time.

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