Zack Greinke Trade Analysis


With the biggest move in the books, let’s take a look at what each team received.  The Angeles sent Jean

Segura, Ariel Pena, and John Hellweg to the Brewers, while Milwaukee sent their young ace to Los Angeles.  It was a deal done by the Angels specifically to overtake the Rangers.  They were in desperate need of starting pitching help, and they got it.  For the Brewers, the defending National League Central champions, the move signals a concession of this season, but not the end to being competitive. They received three solid players in return who can help them as early as next season.

Let’s start with Greinke in L.A.  Is this a half-season rental?  It’s an expensive rental if the Angels did in fact give up three players just to allow Greinke to walk in free agency at the end of the year.  However, it seems general manager, Jerry Dipoto, has intentions of re-signing the 28-year righty.  According to, “One source with knowledge of Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto’s thinking speculated that the Angels might feel they have a good shot at re-signing Greinke this offseason.”

Greinke is a free agent after this season.  He is making $13.5 million, of which the Angels will be paying the remaining $5.15 million.  While Dipoto and the Angels have spent a lot in recent months to put together the current team, re-signing Greinke should become a priority once the season is over – especially if they overtake the Rangers and win the division.

Greinke should be more than willing to consider a contract from Los Angeles.  He’s no strangers to the American League.  He won the American League Cy Young in 2009 while still pitching for the Kansas City Royals.  If the Angels make the postseason and give Greinke the best chance to make the play-offs on a consistent basis, the club will have an easier time re-signing him.

For the rest of the season, Greinke offers an immediate solution to a growing problem.  Outside of Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, the Angels starting pitching staff is not very good.  Dan Haren is battling injuries and has a 4.59 ERA (4.23 FIP).  Ervin Santana just hasn’t been very good this year.  He has a 6.00 ERA (5.74 ERA).  Finally, Garrett Richards is solid, but he too has dealt with injuries this year and has just 11 career starts in the Major Leagues under his belt.

Greinke has a 3.44 ERA which is actually deceivingly high.  His FIP is just 2.44, meaning the Brewers defense let him down quite a bit this season.  According to Fangraphs, he has already been worth 3.8 WAR on the season.  He’s pitching at a Cy Young caliber, although he has fallen off in his last few starts, presumably due to the trade rumors and distractions.  Greinke has lowered his walk rate to the lowest total since 2009 at 2.05 per nine innings.  He’s getting more ground balls, which may be due to the ballpark in which he was pitching in Milwaukee.  Too many flyballs there equals home runs.  Miller Park is tied for second in Park Factor for home runs.

The Angels are getting an ace to add to their two aces at the top of the rotation.  They did have to give up some talent though in Segura, Pena, and Hellweg.

Jean Segura made his Major League debut recently, but has yet to record a hit.  The 22-year old infielder was rated the 55th best prospect in baseball prior to this year by Baseball America.  In six minor league seasons (he was signed at 17), Segura has a .310/.364/.438 line.  He skipped Triple-A this season, but did reach Triple-A back in 2009.  He has been up and down throughout his minor league career.

Pena is close to being Major League-ready.  He made it to Triple-A last season, but he has been pitching at the Double-A level this year – and doing well.  He has a 2.99 ERA, is walking the feast percentage of batters since his Rookie League year, and is striking out a solid 8.74 per nine innings.  His FIP of 3.98 indicates his ERA may be a little lower than it should be, but he is close to a call-up to Triple-A.  He was not rated by Baseball America, but he has potential.

Hellweg is similar to Pena in the fact that he is near Major League-ready.  He also has not been ranked by Baseball America.  However, he was ranked the Angels fourth best prospect by Baseball America after last season.  His ERA this season at Double-A is 3.38 and his FIP is 4.43.  He may need some more seasoning, but he is not far off.  Hellweg has reduced his walk rate in each of his last three seasons and will need to continue to do so to be effective in the Majors.

The Brewers, who lost Prince Fielder last offseason, are nine games under .500 this season.  The surprising Reds and Pirates have taken charge of the N.L. Central, but Milwaukee is building for the near-future.  They are not in a rebuilding mode that should take long.  Milwaukee was not going to get Grienke back, they were not going to get draft pick compensation if he left in free agency (most likely), and they needed something to build on.  This deal allows them to do that.  It also allows the Angels to compete now and make a move now.