Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke has been acquired by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Just days after the organization claimed to be “looking within” to shore up a sagging starting pitching rotation, MLB Executive of the Year candidate Jerry Dipoto and his staff shocked the baseball world by landing the biggest prize of baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline.
An impending free agent at season’s end, Greinke, who was 9-3 with a 3.44 ERA as a Brewer this year, has made it known he’s open to signing a long term extension with his new club. Those negotiations will come in due time though, as Dipoto has apparently not yet approached the issue of Greinke being an Angel past 2012 with Greinke’s representation. One step at a time folks. Those talks will certainly come at the appropriate time. Prying Greinke away from the Milwaukee Brewers without a doubt poses a future risk for the Angels if they are unable to sign him long term, as they parted with three of the organization’s top prospects in order to land Greinke.
Jean Segura, Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena all appear to be future major leaguers with high upside but each does seem to have a low floor if their full talent can’t be harnessed and achieved. Middle infielder Segura, seemingly the centerpiece of this deal, was recently called up to the big leagues for the first time by the Angels to provide depth in the infield after Erick Aybar suffered a toe injury by fouling a ball off his foot. He’s shown plus power for a middle infielder and looks like he could be starting in the big leagues as soon as 2013. Pena and Hellweg are both power pitchers with impressive numbers in the minor leagues who are refining their command in hopes of climbing the ladder to the show. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that the late inclusion of Pena in this deal steered momentum away from divisional rival Texas Rangers and delivered Greinke to the Angels.
It’s no secret that you’ve got to give to get when acquiring elite talent like Zack Greinke and only the sands of time will tell the actual price the Angels paid to get their new ace. But for now, the Angels just stacked their 2012 rotation and are ready to make a major push to overtake the aforementioned Texas Rangers in winning the 2012 AL West. If you’re asking me, I’ll tell you now that I love the move and feel impact trades like this invigorate a clubhouse. In addition to that, the on-field presence an ace pitcher brings to a team can’t be understated. Greinke provides a distinct and timely shot in the arm to the Halos’ rotation combining an arsenal of pitches that he’s actually mixed up a bit since his days in the AL with the Kansas City Royals. His repertoire includes a four-seam power fastball that, according to Torri Hunter, Greinke throws at 93-94 mph regularly and reaches 100 MPH “when he’s pissed off.“ Greinke has also added a two-seam fastball to go along with a hammer curve ball, a deceptive cutter, and a less often used change up. He has electric stuff and should continue to benefit from the addition of his cutter and two-seamer since AL hitters were not seeing those pitches in his last stint in the American League.
If anyone doubted the Angels being “all-in” for 2012, those doubts are now surely erased. Jerry Dipoto has run a marathon at a sprinters pace as the Angels’ GM by now adding Greinke to his stockpile of key additions. Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, Ernesto Frieri, Iannetta, and now Greinke–the list seems to go on for pages. The story being told though that this team wants to win NOW. Arte Moreno clearly wants to add “World Series Champion Owner” to his far stretching career of achievements. One would have to believe he now has the on-field and off-field personnel to do it.
This rotation is now a four-headed monster that can attack opposing teams relentlessly. Day 1 you face Weaver. Day 2 you face Greinke. Day 3, a left-handed CJ Wilson takes his turn firing bullets toward homeplate. Day 4 you get a reinvigorated Danny Haren who seems to have regained the feel for his filthy split finger pitch and wide array of offspeed stuff. There’s no room to breathe there and if pitching coach Mike Butcher can re-establish Ervin Santana’s confidence and command you’re getting him on Day 5. I’m not sure there’s a better rotation than that elsewhere in the game.
Pulse thumping, heart pounding jump up and down moments are becoming the signature of Jerry Dipoto’s tenure as GM in Anaheim and Greinke’s addition is certainly another one of those. All of the key ingredients appear to be mixed in on this roster and it’s championships this team is cooking up. The first goal of course is winning the division and becoming AL West champs. Then of course American League champs and if we’re all lucky enough and these stars Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno have acquired all line up perfectly, we could be looking at World Series champions. There are no guarantees in baseball, but Zack Greinke is now wearing Halo Red and a World Series title in 2012 has never seemed so attainable.
Please follow Drew Mumford Jr on Twitter @jrjantreshunt.