In little more than a week, the Brewers have gone from having the worst starting rotation in the NL to one of the best in the entire MLB.
After making a huge trade that landed 2009 Cy Young Award winner Zack Grienke, there is no doubt now that 2011 is supposed to be a big year and not just another rebuilding year. The rotation now features a very good one-two-three in Grienke, Yovani Gallardo, and Shaun Marcum. Throw in Randy Wolf, and Chris Navrveson, and the Crew suddenly has a very good starting five.
The last two seasons, the starting pitching has been an achilles heel, to put it nicely, for the Brewers. Last year, the rotation had no consistency with pitchers moving in and out of the bullpen and finished with the second worst ERA in the NL.
With the recent additions, these numbers are all but guaranteed to improve. Unfortunately, the Royals didn’t just give up Grienke for free. The Brewers traded away young stars Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar, along with top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi. It does leave a hole in centerfield and shortstop. Promising Jeremy Jeffress (a young pitcher) may also be sent to Kansas City as a player to be named later.
As a part of the trade, the Brewers aquired Yuniesky Betancourt (.259 avg, 16 HR in 2010) to fill the gap left by Escobar. With this deal, along with the with last week’s deal where the Brewers acquired Shaun Marcum for top prospect Brett Lawrie, the Brewers have made a statement. That statement is that they are trying to win now.
Clearly, they are not going to trade Prince Fielder any time soon. They have mortgaged the future by buying a good pitching staff and using their top prospects as currency. This year is a big year for Brewer fans.
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