As you’ve no doubt heard, Zack Grienke was traded to the Brewers over the weekend for Alicides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Odorizzi, and Jeremy Jeffress. I like Odorizzi and Escobar seems like a decent enough player, but that price tag certainly makes you want to go “wait, why can’t we have a Zack Grienke? Sabeeeeeaaaaannnn” in a whiny little kid voice. Having two Lincecum quality talents at the top of the rotation would certainly make a much more enjoyable post when I compare our rotation to the Phillies. Not to mention that Greinke would probably fit in pretty well with out current collection of weirdos.
Unfortunately, though it looks like the Royals were shopping for need. I don’t really think that’s the best idea when you’re trading a top tier talent. As I pointed out in my first post, the supply of players of Greinke’s caliber (either 4-5 or 5-6 WAR) is incredibly small. Cain, Escobar and Jeffress all look like 1 or 2 WAR players to me – a type that is comparatively much easier to find.
If the Royals truly were looking for need, that meant the Giants were an unlikely match. The Royals have failed/scouted their way into what is probably the top farm system in baseball, but most of their top prospects are corner infielders or corner outfielders. They don’t have a whole lot of guys coming up to fill up the middle of the field. Whatever their other flaws, Cain and Escobar can field those positions. While matching the pitching that Milwaukee offered up would probably be doable, the Giants’ top prospects at SS and CF would probably be Brandon Crawford and Francisco Peguero. Peguero is toolsy but pretty far away, and Crawford was nearly as bad at hitting AA pitching as Escobar was at hitting MLB pitching. So while the Lincecum-Greinke-Cain top three was a pretty awesome daydream, I probably won’t go in for a round of Sabean-bashing over this non-move.
Meanwhile, it seems like an awful lot of good pitching has migrated from the AL to the NL this off-season. Personally, I would love to see the NL surpass the AL in terms overall playing talent. I just hope the Giants don’t stand still while it happens. I can’t see how they could have landed Grienke, given what the Royals seemed to have been after, but they need to keep their eyes open for that next available impact player.