Why Greinke Took Brewers Over Nats

Late last night the Milwaukee Brewers and the Kansas City Royals agreed to a trade that would send coveted former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke to the Brewers. According to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the Washington Nationals and the Royals had previously agreed on a deal to send the right-hander to Washington, but Greinke rejected it with his no trade clause:

“greinke rejected #nats but accepted#brewers bec he believes milwaukee can win sooner, i hear. also said to like city” -SI_John Heyman

At first look, this felt like a total slap in the face. The Brewers only won eight more games than the Nationals last year, and Washington just signed Jayson Werth. It would be one thing if Greinke had rejected a trade to the Nationals but accepted one to the Rangers or Yankees, but the Brewers? Over the last decade they have been almost as pathetic as the Nats.

Then the fan in me took a step back and actually looked at the Brewers roster. While the Nationals will have Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in 2012, the Brewers could seriously compete in 2011 with the addition of Greinke. Between Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Casey McGehee, Prince Fielder and Corey Hart, the Brewers boast five players who hit 23-or-more homers last season and three guys who drove in 100 runs.

That’s a damn good line up, and what makes it even scarier is that all of those guys are under 28-years-old. 

Greinke will also be joining in 2011 a pitching staff that was only an ace away from being competitive in 2010. The Brewers staff boasts 24-year-old Yovani Gallardo who has posted a sub-four ERA and over 200 strikeouts in the last two seasons. It also has veterans Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf and Dave Bush, all of whom had better seasons than any Nats starter last year not named Strasburg.

The Nationals on the other hand are shaping up to have a rough 2011. Even if they had been able to acquire Greinke, their only proven starter in their rotation that will be available next year is John Lannan, a guy few people put that much stock in. Sure, Zimmermann, Maya, and Detwiler are exciting and have potential, but Gollardo, Wolf and Bush have a track record and will win ball games next year.

While Rizzo proved his club was ready to dish out money, he also refused to sign one of their best assets, Adam Dunn, this winter, and just traded away their second best hitter, Josh Willingham, for peanuts. That doesn’t exactly inspire a superstar to want to come to D.C. In total Washington brought in one guy who was better than Dunn and Willingham, but was it a net gain? I’m not convinced yet. 

As much as it pains me to say this, if Greinke wants to compete in 2011, he made the right choice going to Milwaukee. Well…over the Nationals at least.