Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin moved quickly to trade right-hander Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels, once the team fell out of contention in the NL Central and it became evident Greinke would not sign a contract extension that suited the Brewers.
In exchange for Greinke, the Brewers received three of the Angels' top prospects -- shortstop Jean Segura and right-handers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena. All three will report to Class AA Huntsville.
The Brewers sent a package of four prospects to Kansas City in December 2010 for Greinke (and shortstop Yuni Betancourt) with hopes of making a run at the World Series in 2011. They did exactly that but fell two games short when they were eliminated by St. Louis in six games in the NL Championship Series.
This year, Greinke continued to pitch well (9-3, 3.44) but the Brewers never got going, in part because of injuries but also because of an imploding bullpen that couldn't hold leads.
"I said all along, I told our people, we're not going to get as much but we don't know until these players play," Melvin said.
"I wasn't looking to get back the trade I did with Kansas City because we had Zack for a year and a half. This team is going to have him for 12 starts. I didn't want to try to gouge. It's not about winning a deal. It's about making a deal you think works."
Melvin said he quickly narrowed the interested parties to four or five before finally getting down to two clubs. He didn't mention the other team but it was known to be the Texas Rangers, rivals of the Angels in the AL West.
Asked if it helped to have division rivals battling for Greinke, Melvin said, "I think the best thing that helped us was Zack Greinke's performance in Philadelphia the other day (seven strong innings on Tuesday). Thank you, Zack. It was a very important performance for us to bring back a package like we did. I still say he's one of the best pitchers in the game.
"It was a tough one because I'm very fond of Zack, not only as a player but as a person. He's one of my favorite players I've ever been associated with. That makes it a little tougher.
"We had to make a decision and turn the page. We're going to start seeing a little influx of some of the talent we have in our system. These three players are players that we feel good about."