Royals acquire Escobar, Cain, Odorizzi and Jeffress from Brewers for Greinke, Betancourt and cash
The Royals announced today that the club has acquired shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, and right-handed pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and cash considerations.
Escboar, whose first name is pronounced “al-SEE-dees”, turned 24 last Thursday and spent his first full Major League season in 2010 with Milwaukee as the club’s shortstop. The 6-foot-1, 182-pounder hit .235 (119-for-506) with 14 doubles, 10 triples, four home runs, 41 RBI and 57 runs scored. The 10 triples ranked tied for third in the National League and set a new franchise rookie record. The right-handed hitter and thrower also stole 10 bases in 14 attempts. Escobar entered the 2010 campaign rated by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Brewers organization and the number 12 overall prospect in baseball by the same publication. He was a career .293 hitter with 176 stolen bases in 647 minor league games since being signed by Milwaukee as a non-drafted free agent on July 9, 2003. Born in La Sabana, Venezuela, Escobar now resides in Vargas, Venezuela, with his daughter, Gabriela.
The 24-year-old Cain got his first taste of big league action last season, hitting .306 with 11 doubles, one triple, one home run, 13 RBI and 17 runs scored in 43 games for the Brewers. Appearing mostly in center field, the 6-foot-2, 192-pound Cain also added seven stolen bases in eight attempts. The right-handed hitter and thrower opened 2010 with Huntsville (AA), batting .324 in 62 games and would have started the Southern League All-Star Game had he not been promoted to Nashville (AAA). The speedster has hit .291 in 584 minor league contests with 124 stolen bases in 159 attempts. Selected by Milwaukee in the 17th round in 2004 out of Tallahassee Community College, Cain was born in Valdosta, Ga., but currently calls Madison, Fla., home.
Odorizzi (oh-duh-RIZZ-ee), 20, earned Brewers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010 after compiling a 7-3 record with a 3.43 ERA in 23 appearances (20 starts) for Wisconsin (A) in the Midwest League. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound right-hander allowed just 99 hits in 120.2 innings, walking 40 and striking out 135, pacing the circuit with 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Odorizzi was recently rated by Baseball America as the eighth-best prospect in the talent-rich Midwest League. The Highland, Ill., native was drafted in 2008 by the Brewers in the supplemental first round (32nd overall) following a senior season at Highland High in which he was named Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year. Odorizzi turned down a scholarship offer from the University of Louisville to play both baseball and football to sign with the Brewers.
The 23-year-old Jeffress (JEFF-ress) pitched at four levels in the Brewers system last season, including making 10 relief appearances for Milwaukee in the final month. The 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA for the Brewers in 10.0 innings. He finished up 2010 by making 10 relief appearances for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 3.09 ERA and striking out 14 in 11.2 innings, also striking out a pair in a scoreless inning at the AFL Rising Stars Game. Jeffress also made stops in 2010 with Wisconsin (A), Brevard County (A Advanced) and Huntsville (AA). The South Boston, Va., native earned Brewers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008 when he struck out 115 in 94.0 combined innings for Brevard County and Huntsville. Jeffress was selected by Milwaukee in the first round (16th overall) in 2006 out of Halifax County (Va.) High School.
Greinke, 27, was the Royals first-round pick (6th overall) in the 2002 Draft and has posted a 60-67 career mark since his debut in 2004. The right-hander followed up his 2009 Cy Young campaign by going 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA in 33 starts in 2010. Greinke leaves Kansas City seventh on the franchise list with 931 strikeouts, eighth with 169 starts, ninth with 67 losses and 10th with 1,108.0 innings pitched.
The 28-year-old Betancourt hit .259 with career-highs in home runs (16) and RBI (78) last season. The shortstop was acquired by the Royals on July 10, 2009 from the Mariners in exchange for two minor league pitchers.
Escobar, Cain and Jeffress were added to the Royals 40-man roster while Odorizzi was assigned to the Wilmington (A Adavanced) roster. In addition, the Royals designated infielder Joaquin Arias for assignment to bring the Major League roster to 40.