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Angels Acquire 2009 Cy Young Winner Zack Greinke

Aaron Fischman |
July 27, 2012 | 8:30 p.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor

Zack Greinke (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Zack Greinke (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bolstered their already strong starting rotation by acquiring right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.  

With the non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, the Angels’ package of rookie shortstop Jean Segura and two Double-A pitchers beat out competing suitors, such as the Rangers, Braves and White Sox, among others. 

The deadline deal is rather typical, in that it featured a buyer and a definite seller. The Brewers had dropped seven consecutive games, falling to fourth place in the National League Central and a distant 14 games behind the division-leading Reds. Milwaukee also found itself 10 games behind the second NL Wildcard spot.  

The Angels, on the other hand, would make the postseason if the season ended tonight, but their sights appear set on catching the AL West-leading Rangers, who lead Mike Scioscia’s club by five games. After posting an abysmal 8-15 month of April, the Halos won 35 of 55 affairs in May and June combined before falling back to earth in July.   

The former Cy Young winner is something of an enigma, as he’s never been quite the same since his impressive 2009 season. During Greinke’s ’09 campaign, the then-25-year-old hurler struck out 242 batters and held opponents to a 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and .230 opposing batting average. The lanky righty also logged a career-high 229.1 innings, while surrendering only 11 home runs and 51 walks.  

Greinke, who is only 28 years old, remains a pitcher with a great deal of talent and upside, but baseball fans are still waiting for him to return to dominance after that impeccable season three years ago. Was the season-long performance an outlier or something he should be able to achieve once again in the near future?

The disparity between the pitcher’s home and road performance is also extremely perplexing. Throughout his career, Greinke has performed significantly better in his home stadium, wherever that might be. While Greinke played in Kansas City for seven years and the Royals play in a pitcher’s park in Kauffman Stadium, he interestingly excelled in the Brewers’ Miller Park, a field where hitters have scored the fourth-most runs in 2012.  

The statistics are telling:

Career, away: 4.18 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .264 BAA, 566 K’s, 186 BB’s, 8.74 innings/HR allowed.

Career, home: 3.42 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .255 BAA, 688 K’s, 167 BB’s, 11.96 innings/HR allowed.

2011, away: 4.70 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .255 BAA, 82 K’s, 23 BB’s. 

2011, home: 3.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .236 BAA, 119 K’s, 22 BB’s.

2012, away: 4.09 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, .294 BAA, 60 K’s, 16 BB’s. 

2012, home: 2.59 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .196 BAA, 62 K’s, 12 BB’s.

The trade allows Greinke to return to the American League after a one and a half-year hiatus. He also spent the first seven years of his major-league career in the junior circuit. 

With the acquisition, the Angels are adding Greinke to possibly the best one-two punch in baseball, which features Cy Young candidate Jeff Weaver and first-year Angels southpaw C.J. Wilson.

The new Angel has struggled mightily this month, but he is coming off a seven-inning, three-hit outing against the Phillies on Tuesday. 

Aaron can be reached via email or Twitter.



 

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