Acquiring a great player requires a great price. I had dreams of the Tigers landing Zack Greinke but it was nothing more than a dream when looking at what the Royals received in return.
Lorenzo Cain was ranked as the number 8 prospect in the Brewers organization at the start of last season. Drew Smyly holds that spot down in the organizational rankings recently released for the Detroit Tigers by Baseball America. Cain saw action in 43 games for Milwaukee last year but might be in a similar place in his development to where Austin Jackson was before last season. If you want to use Jackson as the comparison you need to think back about how he was viewed prior to his stellar rookie campaign.
Alcides Escobar is the type of middle infield prospect the Tigers simply don’t have in their organization. Escobar saw the field in limited action in 2009 and hit .304 in 125 at bats. He was an every day player in 2010 but saw his average fall to .235. Escobar is your Jacob Turner/Andy Oliver type prospect that the Royals will look to as a person to lock down his position for the next decade.
Jake Odorizzi entered last season as the Brewers ninth best prosepect. He is a starting pitcher that was came to Milwaukee as a supplemental first round draft pick in 2008 when he was regarded as one of the top high school pitchers in that year’s draft. The Tigers’ ninth best prospect is currently listed as Avisail Garcia, a 19 year old outfielder from Venezuela.
Jeremy Jeffress, was picked 16th overall in 2006 and was honored by Baseball America as one of the top 100 prospects in baseball prior to the 2009 season. He appeared in ten games for the Brewers last season and could slide right into the Royals bullpen in 2011.
The Royals said they wanted help up the middle in return for Greinke and they got it. The Tigers may have had enough talent to work out a deal with the Royals but it appears that this was a scenario where the wants of one team didn’t line up with the assets of the other.
It is so difficult to line up what the Brewers gave up with an equivalent in the Tigers farm system that I have a hard time imagining that many Tigers fans would feel good about what they might have had to give up to acquire Greinke. With so few legitimately promising position player in the organization it would have completely gutted the pipeline for another couple years.