Don't ask me if the Zack Greinke trade makes the Brewers the favorite to win the National League Central.
I'm the idiot that picked the Brewers to win the Central last year.
So yeah, if you take the flawed team that I thought could win, then add Greinke and Shaun Marcum, I'm ready to pick the Brewers again.
This time, I won't be alone. This time, I might even be right.
"I think Cincinnati's much better than St. Louis," one veteran National League executive said today. "And I think Milwaukee's better than Cincinnati."
That opinion isn't near unanimous among baseball people. A quick survey of scouts and executives had quite a few favoring the Reds to repeat, and some even suggesting that the Cubs could win, if their young players develop.
But not surprisingly, every scout I talked to thought that the twin trades for pitching make the Brewers into a team that could win.
"I think they're a legitimate contender," one American League scout said. "I really think Marcum will solidify their rotation. He'll go out and give them seven innings basically every time out. He's a lot like Bronson Arroyo, coming over from the American League."
Arroyo came to the Reds in 2006, coming off a season where he went 14-10 with a 4.51 ERA for the Red Sox. He's 70-60 in five years with the Reds, with a combined ERA of 3.97.
This past year, when the Reds won the Central, Arroyo went 17-10.
Marcum, who was the Blue Jays' opening day starter in 2010, went 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA. Getting out of the AL East could help; he was 1-6 with a 5.64 ERA in 10 starts against the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees, and 12-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 21 starts against everyone else.
Coming to the Brewers should also help Greinke, even though Miller Park is much less favorable to pitchers than Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. Greinke sometimes seemed disinterested in pitching for the sad-sack Royals in 2010, and in an interview today with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , he admitted that he waived his no-trade clause to accept the deal with the Brewers because he was convinced that Milwaukee is now trying to win.
"Greinke can win in any park, if he wants to," one scout said. "He's a No. 1, if he wants to be. On good days, right-handed hitters don't have a chance against him, and lefties don't have much of a chance, either."
With Greinke and Marcum, the Brewers now have a real chance.
Take it from me . . . and from a few guys who were smart enough not to pick them to win in 2010.