By winning the sweepstakes for Greinke, perhaps the most-prized arm available before Tuesday’s trade deadline, the aggressive Angels followed up a huge offseason highlighted by the additions of free-agent stars Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.
”It should be fun. They are a great team,” Greinke said in Milwaukee after the deal was completed. ”After the first month of the season, they have been one of the best teams in baseball. There is a lot of talent there. A lot of great players. The pitching staff will be pretty incredible.”
Greinke joins an outstanding rotation that includes three other All-Stars in Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Wilson. The Angels began the day five games behind first-place Texas in the AL West but in position for a wild card.
”It’s an exciting day,” first-year general manager Jerry Dipoto said. ”We hope that this move will be not just a short-term gain, but one that’s good for the organization. We’re excited to see what kind of a difference he can make.”
The rival Rangers were among several teams thought to be pursuing Greinke, along with the Braves and White Sox. To land Greinke, Los Angeles also sent Double-A right-handers Ariel Pena and Johnny Hellweg to Milwaukee.
”I tried to narrow it down to four or five teams and then as we moved on zeroed in on three teams and then it got down to two teams at the end,” Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said. ”We had two good offers. It was very close between the two teams at the end.”
Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 9-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 21 starts for Milwaukee this season. The 28-year-old right-hander can become a free agent after the World Series.
Due to changes in baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, the Angels will not receive draft-pick compensation if Greinke leaves as a free agent next winter.
Greinke last pitched on Tuesday, limiting the Philadelphia Phillies to one run in seven innings. He also homered off Cliff Lee.
Greinke was scheduled to pitch Sunday for the Brewers. Instead, he said he thinks he’ll start that day for the Angels against Tampa Bay – though he hadn’t finalized his travel plans yet.
Milwaukee obtained Greinke from the Kansas City Royals before the 2011 season. He helped the Brewers win the NL Central and reach the league championship series, but Milwaukee has slumped to fourth place this year at 44-54 after free-agent slugger Prince Fielder left for Detroit last offseason.
With Greinke in position to seek free-agent offers in excess of $100 million next winter, the Brewers decided to get what they could for him. The right-hander is 85-76 with a 3.79 ERA in nine major league seasons.
”It was a tough one,” Melvin said. ”I am very fond of Zack, not only as a player but as a person. He is one of my favorite players that I’ve ever been associated with. It makes it a little bit tougher. We had to make a decision to turn the page. These three players are players we feel good about. Zack is going to be a great addition for the Angels and help them out. We appreciate everything he did for us. He did all we can ask of him.”
The 22-year-old Segura, considered one of the best prospects in the Angels’ system, was called up to the big leagues Tuesday and went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against the Royals. He was batting .294 with seven home runs and 33 stolen bases at Double-A Arkansas, where Hellweg and Pena were among his teammates.
The 6-foot-9 Hellweg was 5-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 21 starts for Arkansas. Pena was 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 19 starts, and his 111 strikeouts were tied for second in the Texas League.
Baseball America ranked Hellweg as the Angels’ fourth-best prospect going into this season. Pena was rated ninth. Both pitchers are 23.
All three new acquisitions for the Brewers are headed to Double-A Huntsville.
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