Brewers GM Doug Melvin wasn't kidding when he guaranteed that they would trade Zack Greinke. He's now a part of the Angels, in exchange for a trio of AA prospects - SS Jean Segura, RHP Ariel Pena, and RHP John Hellweg.
The Angels just added a proven front-line starter, albeit only for the rest of this season. Greinke will be a free agent this fall, and intends to test the open market.
The Brewers infused their farm system with some interesting talent. Seguera is 22 years old and has shown good speed and contact ability in the minors. He reminds me, at least statistically, of Alcides Escobar. Interestingly enough the Brewers traded away Escobar to the Royals when they acquired Greinke in the first place.
Pena is a 23-year-old right-hander that exhibits a class power-pitcher stat line. He gets more than his fair share of strikeouts, but is also a fly ball pitcher. Home runs have not kept Pena from success in the minors, but his rate keeps rising as he climbs the minor league ladder. Miller Park gives up its fair share of dingers, and I think Pena's home run rates will keep him from being an elite pitcher. Still, he appears to be on track to become a dependable starter in the next year or two.
Hellweg, as far as I'm concerned, is a wild card. He is listed at 6'9" and pitches like it (and by that I mean he walks lots of batters). Hellweg also racked up impressive strikeout rates in lower levels of the minors, but it seems that hitters with better plate discipline have learned to just wait him out for a walk or something they can handle. Hellweg is 23 years old, so not a finished product, but I don't see evidence that his control is improving.
My gut reaction was that the Angels got Greinke for cheap. Seguera likely wasn't going to supplant Erick Aybar at shortstop. Pena is a solid prospect. Hellweg is a wild card. From LA of A's* perspective, I could see them banking on Pena for production on their team down the road, but the others were expendable. They gave away a future 3 or 4 starter for a number 1 or 2 these next few months in an intense pennant race. I would probably pull the trigger on this deal without much hesitation if I were the Angels.
*I'll never miss an opportunity to point out how stupid "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" is for a team name.
The Brewers needed a shortstop, and got a solid prospect in this deal. Pena should be able to replace Greinke's spot in the rotation in the near future. Maybe Milwaukee sees an adjustment they can make with Hellweg that will improve his control. Overall, the deal makes sense if the Brewers assumed that there was little to no chance that they hold on to Zack Greinke past this year, which was probably a fair assumption. However, I wonder why they pulled the trigger now. The Rangers have a loaded farm system. Wouldn't it have made some sense to try to get them in a bidding war with the Angels? I am sure the Brewers and Rangers talked, and that certain prospects were deemed "off limits." However, I would be willing to let the market develop a bit further, and see if someone magically becomes available when a prime rival steps up with a competitive offer.
I should add that I seem to be a bit lower than many on Seguera, Sena, and Hellweg as prospects. Maybe that's just because I hate the Angels so much.
What I know for sure is that it really sucks that the Mariners are in the AL West right about now. The Angels burn through money and prospects to do whatever it takes to position themselves for a championship run. The Rangers have been to the World Series back-to-back years, and show no signs of slowing down. The Athletics are hotter than either of those teams, this month at least. Mariners prospects better develop sooner rather than later, or the Mariners might not even be close enough to choke on everyone else's dust.