The Chicago Cubs weren’t going to acquire Zack Greinke, but we were hoping no other NL Central team would get him. Unfortunately, the Brewers just did.

Former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney on Sunday morning.

In the deal, the Brewers are reportedly acquiring Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar and pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress for the 27-year-old Greinke, 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA in 2010 after winning the 2009 Cy Young.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore had been actively shopping for major-league-ready, up-the-middle position players for Greinke.

The Brewers were expected to receive another major leaguer in the deal. Jim Breem of the blog “Bernie’s Crew” reported that player to be shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. ESPN.

That is a serious haul for Greinke (I have it on decent authority that the Royals asked the Cubs for Brett Jackson, Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos AND one of Chris Archer or Trey McNutt or Andrew Cashner – the Cubs rightly said no way), but it makes the Brewers rotation formidable.

Once their biggest weakness, the Brewers now have one of the best rotations in an already rotation-heavy NL Central – Greinke, Marcum, Gallardo, Wolf, Narveson… yikes. If the Cubs weren’t already aggressively pursuing Matt Garza, they better be now.

Speaking of which, the Greinke deal leaves the Cubs’ two biggest competitors for Garza – the Rangers and Nationals (each of whom reportedly tried to acquire Greinke) – out in the cold. That means they’ll be coming hard after Garza, and the price tag is going to be ample. If the Cubs can move Tom Gorzelanny for a couple good prospects, it’s possible they’ll be able to acquire Garza without giving up one of Brett Jackson, Chris Archer, Trey McNutt or Hak-Ju Lee (to say nothing of Andrew Cashner), but it looks increasingly unlikely.



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