Angels Acquire Zack Greinke For Farm System

By MJ Lloyd

After Cole Hamels signed his mega-extension with the Phillies, Zack Greinke became the prize free agent pitcher for the trade deadline. Greinke didn’t come cheap but the Angels won the sweepstakes.

“Blockbuster” Dipoto, as he may or may not be called by his closest friends, has done nothing short of collecting all of the superstars he can since taking over the General Manager position. He gobbled up Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in the off-season and now added the 2009 AL Cy Young winner to the Jered Weaver, Wilson, Dan Haren rotation.

Greinke, and that “e” before “i” is correct no matter how much I oppose it, might not be the over NINE fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) pitcher he was in 2009 but he much better than his Milwaukee ERA’s suggest. Greinke’s FIP (fielding independent pitching) has been almost a full run lower than his ERA in both 2010 (3.83-2.98) and 2011 (3.44-2.50). Putting Greinke in the spacious parks of the AL West with the Angels defense behind him, he should look closer to that Cy Young kid from ’09.

The Halos look to be in “win now” mode since they only have Pujols locked up for nine more seasons. Jean Segura, Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena move to the NL Central in this deal. Kevin Goldstein, of Baseball Prospectus and ESPN fame, ranked Segura as the second best prospect in the Angels system behind Mike Trout entering the year. Segura can play second base or short stop but was ultimately blocked after Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar each signed four year extensions. He also hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy but he’s the type of blue chip prospect it was going to cost to get Greinke.

Hellweg has enormous upside and stature. The 6’9 right-hander ranked third on Goldstein’s list of Angels prospects. He’s got a fastball that can touch 99 but, as a converted reliever, doesn’t have a full starter’s repertoire yet. Hellweg is a work in progress but could end up being a front of the rotation starter. Or back to being a reliever. Or something else. I’m not a scientist.

Pena was the other Angel in the Future’s Game at the All Star break with Segura. He finished at 10 on KG’s preseason Angels rankings. He strikes me more of a reliever but he’s been starting for most of his minor league career and I’m not a qualified scout. Or writer. Nice strikeout rates.

Three top 10 prospects out of the organization for two months of Greinke. That’s a good haul if you’re a Brewers fan. The rumblings sound like Dipoto feels he can extend or re-sign Greinke but that isn’t part of the trade. The Halos are contenders and are all in. The deal makes sense and looks pretty good for both sides. A Weaver, Wilson, Greinke, Haren rotation isn’t anything another team wants to see in the playoffs. Flags fly forever.

I feel like I didn’t write enough about Mike Trout in this post.