Posted on: January 19, 2011 9:26 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 1:11 pm
The Brewers announced they hit the one million mark Wednesday in tickets sold for 2011, hitting the landmark on the same date they did last year. Last year they were coming off their first playoff appearance in 25 years, and this year the brisk sales can be attributed to the team's bold offseason moves, including the acquisiiton of Zack Greinke.
"Bold moves by our owner and general manager have energized our fans, and ticket sales have spiked accordingly," Brewers executive vice president of business operations Rick Schlesinger said in a statement. "We look forward to a year of great excitement at Miller Park."
The Brewers have a great fan base, consistently drawing better than their market size and on-field success would dictate. They were 11th in baseball last season, outdrawing big-market teams such as the Mets, Braves, Astros and White Sox.
-- David Andriesen
Posted on: January 15, 2011 6:54 pm
Hey, check out the Royals getting all spendy with the free agents. Two days, two signings, as today it's being reported that they are following their signing of Jeff Francis with a deal to bring back Bruce Chen.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports via Twitter that Chen will sign a $2 million deal with $1.5 million in possible performance bonuses. Chen made 33 appearances, 23 of them starts, for the Royals last season, with a team-leading 12 wins and 4.17 ERA. Considering the departed Zack Greinke (10-14) was the only other Royal to win more than eight games last season, bringing back Chen at that price is a no-brainer.
This also gives the left-hander a chance to do something he's never done: spend three full seasons in the same city. The Royals are Chen's 10th team in a 12-year career.
-- David Andriesen
Posted on: January 10, 2011 10:04 am
Coming off a World Series appearance, the Rangers have been anything but content this offseason. Few teams have been as active in the free agent market as Texas.
General manager Jon Daniels has reached high -- Cliff Lee -- and missed, but also reacted by signing the likes of Adrian Beltre and Yorvit Torrealba along with reliever Arthur Rhodes and took a risk on former Cy Young Award-winner Brandon Webb. The team was also in on trades for Zack Greinke and Matt Garza.
Under new ownership, the Rangers have been aggressive and shown they aren't content with what they've done. That hasn't stopped even after an offseason spending spree.
"There are still some things we're going to look into," Daniels told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . "This may be the club we go to camp with. We're confident if it is.
"But there's a chance we'll try to improve as well."
Wilson notes the team could still be interested in other "risk-reward types" such as Jeff Francis and Bartolo Colon.
There's also the off chance the team could go after the top remaining free agent, Rafael Soriano, and move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. It may be a long-shot, but with the Rangers, it seems anything's possible.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 21, 2010 11:06 pm
The Zack Greinke trade has already paid off for the Milwaukee Brewers, as the team sold 1,100 new season-ticket packages on Sunday and Monday, the Journal Sentinel reports .
"Those are brand new account holders whom I'm convinced wouldn't be buying if not for the current Greinke deal," said Rick Schlesinger, the team's executive vice president for business operations.
Schlesinger said the team had 400 new accounts since the season ended, and then more than doubled that in the 36 hours after the Greinke trade.
The Brewers will also get their first shipment of Greinke t-shirts on Thursday, selling his No. 13 at the team store at Miller Park. The team has also said it will add a Greinke bobblehead to next year's give-aways.
"I don't think you can understate the importance of a transaction like this for a franchise like ours, in terms of the timing," Schlesinger said. "We are in the middle of football and basketball season, and the [University of Wisconsin] Badgers are in the Rose Bowl. This is a home run in terms of getting that kind of buzz and activity."
Despite being a so-called "small market" club, the Brewers were ninth in attendance last season, averaging 34,278 per game, despite a 77-85 record. Among the teams in the Top 10 in attendance last season, only the Cubs had a worse record than the Brewers. Milwaukee was sixth in average attendance (37,499) in 2009, even with a losing record. The last time the Brewers fielded a winning team, 2008, the team averaged 37,882 fans per game -- 89.3 percent of capacity.
With the excitement over adding Greinke and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers could improve even on that number, and perhaps -- just perhaps -- afford to keep some of their big names in Wisconsin.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 20, 2010 10:15 am
Edited on: December 20, 2010 1:28 pm
If the Yankees wanted Zack Greinke, it's possible something may have been worked out -- except New York declined to pursue Greinke.
Sounds odd that the Yankees would pass up such a pitcher, but SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Yankees didn't feel New York was right for Greinke. Joe Posnanski, also at SI.com, had a great column the other day on how so many people are acting as Greinke's psychologist when really, no one knows how Greinke is thinking. It's possible that New York may not have been a great fit, but it's equally possible Greinke could have thrived. After all, social anxiety disorder doesn't have any bearing on pitching in a game or even dealing with the media to a large extent.
Especially since Greinke told Kansas City that he would accept a deal to New York. The cards were there, but the Yankees, as is their right, decided not to pull the trigger.
In any event, K.C. was seeking catcher Jesus Montero and shortstop Eduardo Nunez from the Yankees. Montero, of course, would likely have caught in K.C. although there are questions on how long he can stick behind the dish. He would likely have eventually become the DH while Nunez would have manned shortstop. Many in New York consider Nunez to be the eventual replacement of Derek Jeter, although that smacks of wishing as Nunez's offensive track record is spotty.
UPDATE: The Yankees would have had to cough up a pitching prospect in the deal as well, with either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances included as Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out. That sounds about right and may have even been preferred to Milwaukee's deal.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: December 19, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 19, 2010 2:13 pm
So, with Zack Greinke gone to Milwaukee, where does that leave the Royals?
For one, it leaves them in rough shape in the rotation as the team figures to roll out a Luke Hochevar-Kyle Davies-Vin Mazzaro-Sean O'Sullivan set along with presumably Bruce Chen if both sides can come to an agreement on the lefty resigning in town.
That's a rotation that will lose quite a few games, but the value in the Greinke deal is on the offensive side of the ball, plus the future of its pitching. The club is reportedly acquiring Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for center fielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar, pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi and a player to be named later, -- and its not Jeremy Jeffress, as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt adds. The Royals are also sending along $2 million to Milwaukee for Betancourt's 2012 buyout, as the team will almost certainly not pick up the $6 million option as Haudricourt reveals. The much-maligned shortstop is due $4 million in 2011 and will step in as Milwaukee's starting shortstop.
Cain (pictured) should slide into center field and give the team a much-needed young player as the deep minor-league system has no viable alternative. The marks against Cain are that he will be 25 years old with only 43 games experience in the majors and 22 in Triple-A. However, Cain hit .306/.348/.415 for the Brew Crew in 158 plate appearances and overtook Carlos Gomez for the starting center-field job. Cain isn't exactly oozing with tools, but according to some in the know, could be a valuable commodity for a long time and one whose age shouldn't be held against him as Cain only started playing baseball as a sophomore in high school -- with zero experience. Peter Gammons tweeted that Jim Fregosi told the Royals "when you trade Greinke, the one player you'd better get is Cain."
Escobar is a talented young shortstop but collasped under the weight of expectations in 2010. Expected to be the starting shortstop for K.C., he hit just .235/.288/.326 in 552 plate appearances and just 10 stolen bases along with disappointing defense for someone who was so heralded in that area. The year before, however, the newly-turned 24-year-old hit .304/.333/.368 in 134 PA. Escobar is a good gamble for a team who has Christian Colon years away from the farm and in a position so thin on quality options. The Brewers, for one, feel that Escobar can and will develop into one of the best shortstops in the game.
Odorizzi ranks atop Baseball America 's Top 10 Brewers prospect list and robs the club of one of the majors' best pitchg prospects. Hey, at least Greinke's a pretty nice consolation prize. The 20-year-old posted a 3.43 ERA in 120 2/3 innings for Class A, punching out 135 and walking just 40. The right-hander's pitching coach in Class A compared Odorizzi to a certain someone when speaking to Rob Brainerd of FOXSportsWisconsin.com in July:
"I think he’s got four above average pitches," confirmed [Chris] Hook. "Does he need to improve his changeup? Yeah. But I think, and I hate to put a name with him, he’s like a Zack Greinke to me. That type of pitcher that can command the strike zone."
As for the player to be named, popular sentiment had Jeremy Jeffress as part of the deal. Both sides continue to haggle over the PBTNL, but the 100-mph throwing Jeffress apparently will stay in Milwaukee and could be a big part of the Brewers's bullpen in 2011. Jeffress has a history of marijuana use that caused two suspensions.
So who could the PBTNL be? Assuming that it's another top prospects, options include third baseman Mat Gamel, catcher Jonathan LuCroy, outfielder Kentrail Davis, second baseman Scooter Gennett or pitchers Eric Arnett, Mark Rogers, Amaury Rivas, Cody Scarpetta, Zach Braddock and Kyle Heckathorn.
The Royals did well here to acquire players that fit with their timeline of contention, as their top prospects are going to be filtering into the majors over the next few years and will be able to play together with a strong core. Suddenly, the 2014 club in K.C. looks like it could be quite the threat.
UPDATE : Some conflicting reports on the why, but Baseball Prospects' Kevin Goldstein and Haudricourt both agree that Jeffress seems to indeed be the PTBNL. Goldstein says the hangup is on a non-drug related issue while Haudricourt says K.C. is reviewing Jeffress' drug history.
UPDATE : Jeffress is now a Royal, as Haudricourt says. This makes the deal better from K.C.'s perspective, but it lacks that top-quality, can't-miss prospect that tends to be (should?) part of a deal for a young Cy Young Award-winning pitcher with two years left on the deal.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: December 17, 2010 8:34 pm
Well, we've moved from "the Royals might consider trading Zack Greinke for the right price" to "Zack Greinke wants out."
Greinke fired his agent Friday, apparently part of an effort to force a trade. FOXSports.com is hearing from multiple major-league sources that the Cy Young winner has asked to be traded.
Greinke, 27, is unhappy with being on a losing team, something he was very open about in a September interview. "I just want to be on a team that's working towards winning right now. I don't want to just go through years where you're rebuilding. It's not something that gets me excited is all."
After winning the Cy Young in 2009 with a MLB-best 2.16 ERA, Greinke went 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA last season. Baseball people think Greinke wasn't giving his best effort, and he admitted he wasn't motivated, things that might be corrected with a change of scenery.
Greinke has a no-trade provision with 15 teams listed, including the Yankees, Nationals, Blue Jays, Brewers and Red Sox. Of course, that doesn't mean he can't be traded to any of those 15 teams, just that he'd have to give permission. Now that he's trying to get out, that's probably more likely than it was when he signed the contract. He has two more years on his deal at $13.5 million per season.
The Royals had reportedly been asking for the moon for Greinke, but the pitcher's new stance might pressure them to be more flexible. And Greinke's new agent, Casey Close, was the force behind getting Roy Halladay out of Toronto last winter.
If I'm a GM, I'd be a little wary of banking on a guy for whom a $38 million contract and a sense of professionalism didn't provide sufficient motivation to work hard at his job. But you can bet the lure of adding a No. 1 pitcher is going to be enough to get a lot of teams past those misgivings.
-- David Andriesen
Posted on: December 16, 2010 6:34 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2010 11:50 pm
Some details of Zack Greinke's no-trade clause became clearer Thursday when FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi revealed that the Yankees, Red Sox and Nationals are on the no-trade list.
There are 15 such teams that are on the list and while all are not known, you can cross off the Rangers, Angels and Tigers as teams on the list.
While being on a no-trade list is certainly cause for some pessimism, it is thought that Greinke would not block any trade that deals him to a winner. He may choose to request an extension from one of the said teams, however, to waive the clause.
Greinke has two years and $27 million left on his deal. The Royals have him on the trade block and are expected to move him now that Cliff Lee is no longer a free agent, with both the Yankees and Rangers whiffing on Lee's services.
Both teams, however, reportedly don't have the pieces K.C. is seeking in a deal, while Washington and Toronto are better fits.
-- Evan Brunell