Doug Melvin Delivers an Early Christmas Present to Milwaukee

December 21, 2010 – 7:00 am by Chris Fedor

While it didn’t get the same headlines as Cliff Lee choosing to go to Philadelphia, the move the Brewers just made over the weekend to acquire former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke from Kansas City could have a similar impact in the National League Central. The Royals have been looking for a trade partner for Greinke for a little while now and the Brewers were happy to swoop in and bring him to Milwaukee to boost a pitching staff that struggled at times last season.

Two years ago Greinke was close to unhittable with the Royals. If he can find that form from 2009, the Brewers could be dangerous. With Milwaukee already having acquired Shawn Marcum earlier in the offseason from Toronto and Yovanni Gallardo coming off a very good year, the Brewers now have the best starting rotation in the NL Central. In a league where pitching dominates, the Brewers just made themselves a serious contender in the National League.

Doug Melvin joined ESPN Milwaukee with the D-List to talk about when he knew this deal for Zack Greinke was going to go down, whether or not it was tough to part with the four prospects that they gave up for Greinke, and what else he expects to do to improve the roster.

On the deal coming together quickly:

“Yeah. We knew there was a chance that they were going to trade Zack in the offseason. He had a no trade list, we weren’t on the no-trade list, he took another look at the list, he changed it, but we never gave up. I kept bugging Dayton Moore at the winter meetings in Orlando. In fact I met with him privately in his room without his people or our people knowing just to see if we could work out a deal. I knew it was going to be some of our key young players, but it didn’t happen. When we came back I said let me try one more time and see if I can be persistent enough to get something going. We initiated the talks and this past weekend it came to a head about on Thursday or Friday of this past weekend and finished off Sunday.”

On how tough it was to part with the prospects that they gave up:

“It’s tough because around the winter meetings when Lorenzo’s name came up a number of times, I said I don’t have any plans and I’m not motivated to move him and the same with (Alcides) Escobar because we have to preach drafting and developing our own players. You saw where free agency has gone with pitching. We just can’t get involved with it. It’s not a secret. We just can’t get involved with that kind of free agent pitching and the kind of dollars it takes to get those guys. With free agency you never know. Players always have a select number of cities that they want to go to in that. The only way we can do it is to draft, develop your own players, and through trades. That’s what we did. We took some of the strengths of the positional players in our system in Lawrie, Escobar, and Cain, and brought back a couple of good starting pitchers that were opening day starters last year.”

On what else they have to do to improve the roster:

“You wake up in the morning and you drive to work and you always think about what can you do to make the club better? I think the biggest concern I have now is to make sure that we have depth over the course of 162 games. You go through and the part that you just can’t control is the injuries. You look at the Packers and they have 13 or 14 guys on the injured reserve list and if they had four or five of those guys back they might be walking into the playoffs. Now you look at the Bucks and with (Andrew) Bogut being hurt and now (Brandon) Jennings being out four to six weeks, those are all devastating injuries and that’s what I have to look at now is trying to protect ourselves in case of injury. 162 games playing almost everyday for the summer you’re going to need that kind of depth. So I have to make sure we’re deep at all of our positions and cover just in case of that.”

Listen to Doug Melvin on ESPN Radio Milwaukee here

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