Tag:Jeremy Jeffress
Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:13 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 11:17 pm
 

Royals reliever sentenced to community service

Jeremy Jeffress

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Royals reliever Jeremy Jeffress was sentenced to 20 hours of community service and was required to attend a domestic-violence counseling class for a disorderly conduct charge on Jan. 4, the pitcher confirmed to the Kansas City Star.

Two other charges -- for assault and criminal damage, were dismissed on Jan. 24 in Surprise Municipal Court.

"There was an argument between myself and my girlfriend," Jeffress told the newspaper, "and I lost my temper, but I never put my hads on her. My mom and dad raised me to never do something like that.

"A call was placed to the authorities due to property damage and, in the state of Arizona, once the police are called, you have to go in for a booking."

The Royals said any discipline would be handled privately.

Jeffress, 24, was a piece of the trade that sent Zack Greinke to Milwaukee in December of 2009. He was the Brewers' first-round pick in 2006, 16th overall. He was suspended 50 games in 2007 for testing positive for a "drug of abuse," believed to be marijuana. That was his second positive test. He received a 100-game suspension in 2009 for another failed test. If he tests positive another time, he would receive a lifetime ban.

The right-hander has triple-digit velocity, but mixed results so far in his career. Jeffress appeared in 14 games for the Royals last season, going 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA, striking out 13 batters and walking 11 in 15 1/3 innings. He also appeared in 10 games in 2010 for the Brewers. He was 3-6 with a 5.50 ERA in 25 games at Double-A and Triple-A, last season. He struck out 44 batters and walked 40 in 55 2/3 innings.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Milwaukee Brewers

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

Last offseason the Brewers made two huge moves that powered them to a National League Central title -- trading for Zack Greinke from the Royals and Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays. One look at roster of players the Brewers have drafted and signed out of Latin America tell you exactly why the Brewers had to reach outside the organization for starting pitching. While the team has consistently developed position players, its track record with pitchers -- both starters and relievers -- is not so good. So, check out one of the best lineups in this exercise, and worst pitching staffs.

Lineup

1. Corey Hart, RF
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Prince Fielder, 1B
4. Ryan Braun, LF
5. Rickie Weeks, 2B
6. Brett Lawrie, 3B
7. Lorenzo Cain, CF
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C

Starting Rotation

1. Yovani Gallardo
2. Manny Parra
3. Dana Eveland
4. Mark Rogers
5. Tim Dillard

Bullpen

Closer - Mike Adams
Set up - Craig Breslow, Jeremy Jeffress, Zach Braddock, Tom Wilhelmsen, Michael Fiers, Mike McClendon

Notable Bench Players

The bench actually has a nice mixture of bats -- Mat Gamel, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, along with two outstanding defensive replacements in Alcides Escobar in the infield and Tony Gwynn Jr. in the outfield. There's also a super-utility guy in Bill Hall.

What's Good?

The lineup is ridiculous. It's like the team's lineup from this year, but better. Lawrie at third base adds serious pop, while Hardy is an upgrade at shortstop (and really, who isn't an upgrade from Yuniesky Betancourt?) The core of the lineup is about the same, and shows the team knows how to spot bats that will play in the big leagues. This lineup is certainly one a manager would love to pencil in every, single day.

What's Not?

That pitching staff is ridiculous -- and not in a good way. Yovani Gallardo is a really good pitcher, but the rest ... woof. The fourth starter (Rogers) has 10 innings in the big leagues. The back of the bullpen with Adams, Breslow and Jeffress, well, it's better than the rest of the bullpen. Really, this is all a mess. There's no way this team could compete with this pitching staff. Just brutal.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, the pitching staff ensures this team wouldn't win the division or even sniff the playoffs. The staff is so bad, that even with all the runs they put up, there's likely no way this team wins 70 games. The Brewers tried to slug their way to titles in the past and it was proven it doesn't work. In the end, it's why the Brewers had to gut their minor league system to get Greinke, and trade away an impact bat to get Marcum -- pitching is vital to the success of a baseball team and this hypothetic team has next to none.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays

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Posted on: April 19, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Super Sam

Sam Fuld
By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the best parts of any new season is seeing players reach their potential -- or in Sam Fuld's case, exceed it.

With a 4-for-4 performance in Monday's win over the White Sox, Fuld is now the American League batting leader, hitting .396. And he made another fantastic catch, as you can see above.

Fuld was acquired in the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs this offseason and learned a little bit about playing at Tropicana Field with his diving catch in the third inning on Tuesday.

"It felt like someone took a blow torch to [his left hand], and then I look at it and then there's nothing to show for it, no blood," Fuld told reporters, including the Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney. "Now I know what turf burn is like."

Replays showed starter David Price screaming and clapping his hands after the play, which helped him win his first-ever victory over the White Sox.

The Rays are giving out a Sam Fuld cape later in the season, but it doesn't appear he needs one.

BASEBALL TODAY -- Lauren Shehadi and I talk about the Rockies pitching Cardinals offense.

FASTEST GUN IN THE MIDWEST -- There's little debate now, the gun at Great American Ball Park is juiced.

On Sunday, it had Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan throwing 102, while Pitch F/X had him hitting 98. On Monday, the scoreboard showed Aroldis Chapman hitting 106, when Pitch F/X showed his third pitch to Andrew McCutchen as "just" 102.4.

Last year I had scouts tell me the gun was pretty accurate, but apparently the excitement around Chapman got the Reds greedy, amping up the radar gun. If he does hit 105 mph again, will it say 110 on the scoreboard? Maybe the gun will make Bronson Arroyo feel better about his heater. [MLB.com]

GOOD SEATS -- Nate Schierholtz's brother was sitting 10 feet from where his mammoth shot landed in the third deck at Coors Field, and paid the guy who caught it $25 bucks to get the ball. [San Jose Mercury News]

STREET WATCH -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy is keeping a close eye on closer Huston Street, who hasn't pitched more than two days in a row this year, but has pitched in 10 of the team's first 15 games. [MLB.com]

AXFORD STRUGGLES -- Brewers closer John Axford had another bad outing on Monday, blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth of an eventual 12-inning Milwaukee victory. The issues has been control, but manager Ron Roenicke said he's not concerned or thinking about any kind of change. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

AND I WANT TO BE COMMISSIONER -- Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said he still wants to play first base. Manager Ned Yost's response? " You know what, I'd like to be an astronaut -- and for some reason they just won't let me." With Kila Ka'aihue is manning the spot until Eric Hosmer comes in to take it for good. [Kansas City Star]

BRING AN UMBRELLA -- Weather has been bad all around baseball early this season, although attendance hasn't been hurt too much. [Associated Press]

GOOD JOBA -- Joba Chamberlain's velocity is down, but his results are up. His slider has become a good pitch, helping his results. [New York Daily News]

NICE SHOT -- Ryan Raburn's pop foul in the first inning on Monday was the first-ever ball to hit the roof at Safeco Field. [MLB.com]

PLENTY OF GOOD SEATS AVAILABLE -- The Mets' bad start is good if you're looking for bargain shopping on the highest-priced seats at Citi Field. [New York Times]

RIOS AILING -- Alex Rios will be getting a break in the White Sox's series with the Rays to try to help his sore left toe fully heal. Rios said the toe has been hurting him for the last five years, so it's doubtful a simple day off will cure him. [Chicago Tribune]

AARDSMA TAKING THE HILL -- Mariners closer David Aardsma is expected to pitching tonight in Triple-A, his firs tame action since his hip labrum surgery in January. The Mariners will likely wait for him to throw three or four games in the minors before taking him off the disabled list. [MLB.com]

MORE SURGERY FOR ZUMAYA? -- The Tigers put Joel Zumaya on the 60-day disabled list and another surgery is possible on his right elbow. [Detroit Free Press]

NICE CATCH -- David Wright played catch with some young fans at Turner Field the other day. Pretty cool stuff. [Big League Stew]

NEW DUCKS UNIFORM -- The Oregon Ducks have added an orange jersey? Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie models the newest Oregon uniform combo. [WhoSay.com/JeremyGuthrie]

VIN SCULLY ON 42 -- Dodger Gene Hermanski had the idea of everyone wearing No. 42 way back in 1948, Vin Scully said. [Sons of Steve Garvey]

TROP VETERAN -- White Sox rookie Chris Sale recalled going to the first-ever Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays game in 1998 when he was 9. [Chicago Tribune]

NOTHING BREWING IN MINORS -- According to the latest Baseball America, the Brewers have the worst minor-league system in baseball. After trading away Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi this offseason, their top-ranked prospect is right-hander Mark Rogers -- the team's first-round pick in 2004. On Monday, Rogers lost to former Brewer starter Jeff Suppan in a Triple-A game. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

MINOR LEAGUER HIT IN HEAD -- Eric Hurley, a right-hander with the Rangers' Triple-A team, was hit in the right side of the head in a game against New Orleans on Monday. Hurley, 25, didn't lose consciousness and was taken to a nearby hospital. He left the field over his own power. [ESPNDallas.com]

THROWBACK THURSDAY -- Not only will the Dodgers be breaking out their new throwback uniforms against the Braves on Thursday, Atlanta will throw in throwback duds. No word yet on which Braves throwbacks we'll see. The Dodgers are wearing 1940s-era blue satin-like unis. To announce the promotion the Dodgers sent out a press release on Brooklyn Dodgers letterhead (or maybe the ownership ran out of their regular letterhead and had to find some at the back of the closet instead of ordering new stock.) [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

TODAY IN GLUTTONY -- The Akron Aeros have introduced a helmet sundae. No, not a mini-helmet sundae, a full-sized helmet sundae. [Akron Aeros]

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Pepper: Dangerous game for fans, too

Jose Salazar

By C. Trent Rosecrans


When I went to Class A game the other day, I sat in the front row just to film from that angle and I was shocked at just how close I was sitting -- and how little the fans around me were paying attention.

Of course, it's worse at the minor-league level and in spring training where the stadiums are smaller, but it's still dangerous at the big-league level. Last night in Los Angeles, a fan at the Dodgers game was hit by a foul ball from Matt Holliday and carried off on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. [Associated Press ]

This spring, of course, Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar was struck in the face by a foul ball and lost an eye.

On Friday, Salazar returned to manage the Lynchburg Hillcats.

This weekend, it was a feel-good story to see Salazar back in uniform, but it was so close to being different. [Lynchburg News Advance ]

STRANGE BALK -- Take a minute to watch this -- last night Justin Verlander tried to pick off Daric Barton at first, but caught a cleat in the dirt, so instead of making a bad throw to first, he threw home and hit David DeJesus. Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck ruled it a balk, awarding Barton second base. DeJesus later walked. Verlander said afterward, even he laughed at how it looked. [MLB.com ]

BRADEN LEAVES EARLY -- A's starter Dallas Braden left Saturday's game with shoulder stiffness after five innings. There's no update yet, but it could be bad news for the A's. [San Francisco Chronicle ]

AFRICAN-AMERICAN PARTICIPATION DECLINES
-- As teams honored Jackie Robinson this weekend, the Mets' Willie Harris finds the lack of African-Americans in the game "sad." Only 9.1 percent of major leaguers on opening day 2010 were African-American, while 20 percent were in 1995. Harris said he doesn't think MLB markets its top African-American stars, such as Torii Hunter, Carl Crawford and CC Sabathia, well enough. [New York Daily News

Rockies STARTER FALLS - - For the first time this season, a Rockies starter picked up a loss in the game. Jason Hamel was the first Rockies starter to earn an L, falling 8-3 to the Cubs and ending the Rockies' seven-game winning streak. [Associated Press ]

AND THERE'S THAT
--The other day White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he has the league's best bullpen, despite his relievers blowing six saves and converting just one. On Saturday, he said he knows he has a good defensive team, despite its 15 errors this season, 13 in the last 10 games. [Chicago Tribune ]
 
SPEAKING OF -- The A's lead the majors with 17 errors, including one more on Saturday. First baseman Daric Barton -- widely viewed as one of the best defensive first basemen in the game -- is tied for the team-lead with three errors. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has three, as well. [MLB.com ]

EARNING HIS KEEP -- Could this be the year Alfonso Soriano lives up to his promise and salary? Soriano leads the Cubs with five home runs and 12 RBI. [Chicago Tribune ]

NO LEFTY -- The Dodgers don't have a left-handed reliever in their bullpen after Hong-Chih Kuo was place don the disabled list and replaced on the roster by right-hander Ramon Troncoso. [Los Angeles Times ]

ROYAL PEN -- One of the reasons the Royals are leading in the American League Central is their bullpen, well, almost all of their bullpen. In a reversal of expectations, only closer Joakim Soria, one of the best closers in baseball the last couple of years, has struggled. Manager Ned Yost said his closer is just "human" and should be fine. Still, the likes of Tim Collins, Jeremy Jeffress and Aaron Crow have impressed. [Kansas City Star ]

NEW PITCH -- Giants closer Brian Wilson is playing coy about a new pitch in his arsenal. Wilson, who will talk about most subjects, isn't discussing a new pitch he's throwing to right-handed batters. It may be a two-seam fastball, a cutter or even a screwball. [San Jose Mercury News ]

ATTENDANCE WOES -- This month six teams have set records for their lowest attendance since their current park opened -- the Braves, Indians, Mariners, Cardinals, Yankees and Twins. Overall attendance is down just two percent this year, which is less than I expected. [USA Today ]

HOW LOW CAN IT GO? -- Seattle is being hit particularly hard at the turnstiles. [Seattle Times ]

UBIQUITOUS OBLUQUE -- I missed this earlier this week, but heard Tim McCarver bring it up during yesterday's Mets-Braves games -- Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times wrote a great article about the oblique injury, noting 14 players had gone on the DL this year with an oblique injury. Also, before MRI technology improved to its current point, the injury had been called rib cage or abdominal injuries, the diagnosis is just better nowadays.

BIG DRAFT -- What if you had to pick from Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Justin Upton, Ricky Romero, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Mike Pelfrey, Wade Townsend, Chris Volstad, John Mayberry Jr., Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz? The 2005 draft offered those choices. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ]

WRIGLEY GRIDIRON -- The Cubs and Northwestern want to continue playing football games at Wrigley Field, despite the challenges they faced this season. In the end, money wins. [Chicago Tribune ]

TUCSON HOME -- Padres owner Jeff Moorad said Tucson will be the Triple-A home for the Padres for at least another year and could be an option if the team isn't able to get funding for a park in Escondido, Calif. [Arizona Daily Star ]

A DIFFERENT MANNY -- Manny Ramirez changed when he went to Boston. [Akron Beacon-Journal ]

HOT DOGGIN' -- A look at the best and craziest hot dogs at ballparks this season. I'm thinking about getting that Meat Lovers Dog at Great American Ball Park later today. I'll take pictures. In the name of "journalism" of course. I'm also curious about the Bahn Mi Dog at Nationals Stadium and [SeriousEats.com ]

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Posted on: April 2, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Royals using two-tiered bullpen

By Evan Brunell

SoriaNed Yost plans to deploy a two-tiered bullpen this season, sticking with a certain subset of pitchers if the game is close. While the tiers could change based on performance, Yost prefers set roles. This means one would have to pitch extremely well to be promoted out of the lower tier, while someone in the top tier would have to implode over a period of time to be removed from the role.

“I use a gauge of three runs or more,” Yost told the Kansas City Star. “If we’re within three runs, I’ll stick with one set of guys. When we get past three, I’ll generally go with the other guys.”

Closer Joakim Soria (pictured) is obviously at the top of the most important tier as closer. However, Yost is hoping to use Soria only in save situations and therein, only in one inning. That leaves high-pressure innings for Kanekoa Texeira, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins and Robinson Tejeda. It's not a bad list to have, but it wouldn't surprise many for Texeira to find himself in the lower tier as the season goes on.

That's more because of a certain name in the lower tier that will be pitching at the end of games before long if all goes right. Jeremy Jeffress made the team out of spring training and with a wicked fastball could quickly become one of the more feared relievers in the league. For now, however, he'll act as a reliever tasked with not letting the game get out of hand along with Sean O'Sullivan and Nate Adcock. Before long, Jeffress should move up the pecking order and Texeira appears the most likely to move down given he's a rather average arm.

Yost isn't alone in managers preferring a two-tiered structure, but it's not often you hear a manager clearly splitting the bullpen in two groups. Given Yost doesn't like to make immediate changes. Speaking about the lineup, he said he prefers to set a lineup and have it in place for an amount of time before making moves.

“I don’t like fluctuating a lineup from day to day,” Yost said, “because players start thinking, `I’ve got to go four for four in order to stay in my spot.’ It puts undue pressure on them, right?"

It's a valid point when it comes to the lineup, but it doesn't quite apply to the bullpen. After all, if Texeira has two straight lousy outings and Jeffress impresses in cleaning up the mess, will Yost really go to Texeira again the very next game in a high-leverage situation? As volatile bullpens can be, Yost needs to make sure he's flexible on a day-to-day situation with the bullpen. There's far less impact mentally on a reliever seeing a modified change in role until he gets situated as opposed to dropping someone briefly in the lineup.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 8:27 pm
 

Royals flush with talent, primed for run

HosmerBy Evan Brunell

The Kansas City Royals are flush with prospects, giving pained K.C. fans hope after the major league club flailed in recent years. While these prospects aren't quite ready for prime time, the first influx should start arriving in the summer and continue through 2012.

On CBSSports.com's Top 100 prospects list, the Royals walked away with a staggering 10 names, far ahead of Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Toronto, which tied for second with six representatives apiece.

In order, the Royals players that are among the 100 best are 1B Eric Hosmer (No. 5), 3B Mike Moustakas (No. 10), RF Wil Myers (No. 11), SP Mike Montgomery (No. 22), SP John Lamb (No. 28), SP Jake Odorizzi (No. 76), SP Danny Duffy (No. 79), SS Christian Colon (No. 84), SP Chris Dwyer (No. 98) and RP Jeremy Jeffress (No. 99).

Sheesh, that's a lot -- and that's not all, as Baseball America ranked right-hander Aaron Crow No. 9 and outfielder Brett Eibner No. 10 on the top 10 organizational prospects list. This was prior to the trade with Milwaukee that netted Odorizzi and Jeffress, but Crow and Eibner are no slouches either.

Once all these prospects hit, the Royals will be flush in elite talent making minimal dollars, so the Royals should be a force in short order. While other AL Central foes are in no hurry to see what K.C. can do, let's take a look at what the club could look like in several years. The only players included on this list are current members of the team, those that appeared on top 10 organizational lists by varied sources or are highly regarded but are unlucky enough to play in a system so stacked they don't fall on a top 10 list although they could in other organizations.

Here's a full 25-man projection:

C Salvador Perez
1B Eric Hosmer (pictured)
2B Christian Colon
3B Mike Moustakas
SS Alcides Escobar
LF Brett Eibner
CF Lorenzo Cain
RF Wil Myers
DH Billy Butler

Bench 1B: Clint Robinson
Bench IF: Johnny Giovatella
Bench IF: Jeff Bianchi
Bench OF: Jarrod Dyson
Bench OF: David Lough

SP Mike Montgomery
SP John Lamb
SP Jake Odorizzi
SP Danny Duffy
SP Chris Dwyer

RHRP Patrick Keatging
RHRP Luis Coleman
LHRP Tim Collins
RHRP Aaron Crow
RHRP Jeremy Jeffress
RH CL Joakim Soria

This potential roster doesn't even list a backup catcher, but it's pretty obvious that K.C. is absolutely stacked with talent -- especially since pitcher Noel Arguelles and others aren't even listed! (Note that Colon is a shortstop but is slotted at second here although questions remain about his ability to play second long-term. He may yet remain at short if Escobar does not pan out.)

Despite the impressive depth, keep in mind not every prospect pans out. Still, the Royals have quite a fair amount of assets at their disposal, as each name above is expected to at the very least debut in the majors at some point.

One gaping hole that appears here, however, is at catcher. Currently, the team is getting by with Jason Kendall, Brayan Pena and Lucas May, although only May figures to still be with the Royals when the full influx of prospects arrive. Salvador Perez is listed by BA as the projected catcher for 2014, which is why he is here. He is reportedly a gifted catcher with limited offensive potential, but who needs a bat behind the dish when you have a lineup like what K.C. projects to have?

That said, the massive amounts of trade chips the Royals have plus the oodles of money that will be at its disposal should import several other impact players into the team. This is a club positioned for one heck of a run in the middle part of the decade.

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Posted on: December 19, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 19, 2010 2:13 pm
 

Royals deepen club in Greinke haul

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 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

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Posted on: December 19, 2010 12:09 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:56 am
 

Brewers land Greinke

Zack Greinke Well, we call oursleves Facts & Rumors on this blog, and file this under the latter.

This rumor comes from a fan blog on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel site, and maybe there's something to it. I don't know, but even the author doesn't seem to stand by his own report with a huge disclaimer saying this is just a rumor, but a rumor he feels comfortable enough to publish -- even though I'm not so sure the editors at the Journal Sentinel would feel the same way.

With all that said, the Bernies Crew blog claims Zack Greinke's headed to Milwaukee. The disgruntled 2009 American League Cy Young winner is apparently tired of losing and Milwaukee is the place to cure that? Anyway, the deal, as reported, is Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt along with $2 million to Milwaukee in exchange for shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.

The Royals system is loaded, but does lack an impact shortstop and center fielder, so it would make sense in that it would fill needs, but doesn't seem to be on par with the impact players that the team has said it would need in order to make a deal.

Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein tweets he's talked to the agent of both Jeffress and Cain, and neither of his clients have been contacted by either team. Jeffress has tested positive for marijuana twice and has served a 100-game suspension. With one more positive test, he'd face a lifetime suspension. He made his big-league debut this year, but still would be a risky venture for the Royals.

With Greinke and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers would be vastly improved over last season (even with the addition of Betancourt) and in the National League Central, just about any team has a chance at making a run to a division title.

In the end, though, I'm not sure this one passes the sniff test. I could be really wrong, but I'm not sure the Royals are this desperate yet.

UPDATE: OnMilwaukee.com is reporting this as well , adding that the Royal would also receive right-hander Jake Odorizzi, a first-rounder in the 2008 draft. Odorizzi was 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA at Class A Wisconsin of the Midwest League last season.  He struck out 135 in 120 2/3 innings. Odorizzi is not an insignificant add -- it makes the package look better and better. Although, the author of that report, Andrew Wagner, does not name Betancourt as going to Milwaukee, just a "major league" player. That would be debatable with Betancourt, but that he has drawn a big-league check, so he technically counts.

UPDATE: Journal Sentinel Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt checks in on Twitter :


UPDATE: Haudricourt tweets again, but has no confirmation of the deal:

UPDATE: Several outlets confirm the deal, including the Journal Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt .

Give credit to Jim Breen over at Bernies Crew for the stories and my appoligies. You win the day and respect, while many ofthe rest of us eat crow. Good work, Jim, and my apologies.

This makes the National League Central a three-team race between the Brewers, Reds and Cardinals this season. The Brewers have an imposing top of the rotation with Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo.

That said, the team has given up its shortstop, center fielder and second baseman of the future, plus two of its best arms. Baseball America's upcoming Prospect Handbook had Odorizzi as the organization's top prospect and Jeffress third. It also means the Brewers are going for a title this season, and a trade of Prince Fielder is unlikely before the season.

Give Milwaukee credit, they're going for it -- much like they did when they acquired CC Sabathia in 2008. It will be a more interesting race in the National League Central, that's for sure.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweets Jeffress isn't part of the deal, instead, a player to be named is headed to Kansas City. Heyman also notes the Royals had a deal with the Nationals, but Greinke would not approve that deal.

UPDATE: CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler says the deal is all but done, with the two teams haggling over the last player, which is likely Jeffress.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com