While the focus is on the Brewers side of the deal, the Zack Greinke trade will be crucial to the Royals return to prominence.Kansas City got four prospects in return for their ace to supplement what many agree is already the best farm system in baseball.
Five Royals farm hands ranked in Baseball America’s most recent prospect rankings (July, 2010), three of whom are in the top 20. With this trade, they add two 24-year-old players with some major league experience in Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain, a starter oozing potential in Jake Odorizzi, and a live-armed reliever in Jeremy Jeffress.
Few trades of this sort yield equitable returns for teams in the Royals’ position. But when successful, the trade can establish a foundation for future success. That’s what happened with the Indians when they got Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, and Brandon Philips for Bartolo Colon; it also happened for the Rangers when they got Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus, among others, in return for Mark Teixeira.
The experts are split on the Royals’ end of this deal, but it undeniably adds depth to their loaded farm system. And that’s certainly more useful than a player destined to leave when his contract expired in 2012, just before the Royals’ prospects converge on the Major League squad. In short, they’re following the strategy that’s worked so well for the Rays: stockpile inexpensive, talented youngsters that figure to reach the Big Leagues at approximately the same time – and hope for the best.
After 2012, when Greinke moves on to some big-market squad, we’ll know whether the Brewers were wise to make this trade. In 2015, when the Royals youngsters become seasoned big-leaguers, we’ll know how they did.
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