Angels buck their past deadline tendencies with move for Greinke
Since 2000, no team in baseball sat on the sidelines during the July trading frenzy more than the Los Angeles Angels. The majors' midseason wallflowers made only 11 trades in those 12 years, the fewest deadline deals of anyone. Those days officially are over. These are not your big brother's Angels. First year general manager Jerry DiPoto, fresh off his winter of huge acquisitions, pulled off another aggressive move Friday in getting Zack Greinke, the prize of the trading deadline period.
Greinke is 28, a former Cy Young Award winner and 25-9 the past two years. The Angels were willing to pay a stiff price to get him. They are renting Greinke from Milwaukee at the cost of three young players and $5.3 million to make about 12 starts -- more if the plan pays off with postseason play. Asked about any chance to keep Greinke beyond this year, DiPoto said, "We'll cross that bridge when we get there. For the time being, we're excited about adding a talent like Zack Greinke."
The largesse from the Angels' television package helped open the payroll for Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and LaTroy Hawkins last winter. Now Greinke's addition pushes the 2012 payroll to about $157 million, representing a 30 percent jump in two years. Fitting him in beyond this year -- with Cole Hamels type money coming his way -- would require shedding some major parts, especially as the two-year bargain Pujols gave them with his backloaded contract runs out.
In the meantime, here's what you need to know about the deal:
• The Angels obtained Greinke while keeping pitchers Garrett Richards and outfielder Peter Bourjos, who are considered two valuable trading chips, but that shouldn't be counted as a win necessarily. In infielder Jean Segura, the Brewers got the exact player they wanted -- plus two Double A arms. And DiPoto was not going to take away from his major league club, anyway.
"We were aggressive," DiPoto said, "knowing that to get the deal done quite frankly it took players who are painful to lose."
• The Angels, according to one club source, view Segura as "a potential impact second baseman" who can also play shortstop. Segura did suffer a serious broken leg as a prospect, which has left him with a slightly awkward gait and some concerns about back and hip issues. But for now he runs well and has tremendous range. Don't think Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke -- a former Angels coach -- wasn't familiar with the talent in the Angels system.
• The Angels were worried about their rotation depth. Entering Friday night they were 29-10 when Jered Weaver or C.J. Wilson starts and 25-35 with anybody else. Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have not pitched well, though Los Angeles is confident they are healthy and bound for a turnaround. The concern was greatest in the No. 5 spot, where Richards and Jerome Williams were not regarded as consistent enough.
• Greinke is on turn to start Sunday, but the Angels would be better served to pitch him at Texas Monday or Tuesday. Santana was scheduled to start Tuesday in Texas, but he has been pushed back so much that he would be entering that game with just 1 2/3 innings in his past 14 days. Santana could take Richards' turn on Sunday against the Rays, leaving Greinke, Weaver and Haren to pitch against the first-place Rangers.
• The Angels are done dealing. In a perfect world they could use another left-handed reliever, but DiPoto said, "This is our team. You never say never, but we like our 25." DiPoto identified starting pitching as his No. 1 priority and Greinke as the top target. Unlike most of the past decade, the Angels made the aggressive play and accomplished the mission.