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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

December 20, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Brewers loaded up using Zduriencik’s players

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(Zack Greinke meets the media today in Milwaukee. Photo by Associated Press)

I’ll be on vacation the next two weeks, so this blog will be dormant. Happy holidays to all of you out there in blog land, and thanks for your loyalty and feedback. It was a fun year, despite the play of the Mariners.

Be sure to check out this interview with Ichiro, which comes out of Japan from the Kyodo News. I always worry about something being lost in the translation, as happened in 2005, but I thought this quote by Ichiro was a pretty frank comment regarding the M’s poor records: “Most members of the 2008 team have gone, so everyone knows the situation is not the same. But I’ve been a member of the Mariners the past 10 seasons. After all this time I wonder why we still lose this many games.”

Ichiro also has apparently become a golf addict.

The big news over the weekend, of course, was the trade of Zack Greinke to the Brewers. The Brewers sent pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar to the Royals in exchange for Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2 million.

Earlier this winter, the Brewers traded infield prospect Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays for starter Shaun Marcum. They now have, on paper, a rotation that should make them a strong contender in the NL Central, with Greinke and Marcum joining Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf. That goes with an offense that scored 750 runs last year, fourth-most in the National League. The Brewers, with Prince Fielder facing free agency after the season, are clearly in a “win now” mode, and they have a chance to make some noise.

What struck me about the trades from Milwaukee’s standpoint is that all were accomplished using players acquired during Jack Zduriencik’s regime as the Brewers’ director of amateur scouting:

In Zduriencik’s final draft before leaving for the Mariners, he selected Lawrie in the first round (16th overall), and Odorizzi in the supplemental round (32nd overall). Jeffress was the Brewers’ first-round pick (16th overall) in 2006, while Cain was a 17th round pick in 2004. Escobar was signed as a free agent out of Venezuela in 2003.

The Brewers’ offensive core is also made up largely of guys Zduriencik drafted — Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks.

We’ll see how far Greinke and Marcum take the Brewers, who will somehow try to win a division with Yuniesky Betancourt as their shortstop. But they parlayed Zduriencik’s players into a pretty good haul this winter.

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