The Dance of Joy (and why your trade proposal sucks)

This Zack Greinke-to-Milwaukee trade has got me so excited I don’t know what to do. Been excitedly smiling and talking Brewers baseball all morning. On December 19, no less. Can’t complain about that. It feels great to have the Brewers be the focal point of Major League Baseball for something positive. As the Terrific Girlfriend said, now we do the dance of joy!

And I’m not the only one. Brewers fans all over have been airing their excitement around the web. Twitter, especially, has gone crazy with Brewers fans and non-Brewers fans alike talking up the trade. I don’t think there’s a single baseball fan out there who doesn’t have an opinion. The fact that most seem to think that the Brewers got away like bandits is only icing on the cake.

But, as with all fan bases (especially those used to failure), there are quite a few people bringing out the negativity and doubt about the trade. In fact, one of the first things I thought about after the initial euphoria was how I would have to explain the value of the trade to a friend of mine at work whose a little too risk averse when it comes to the Brewers.

The key complaint, as you can imagine, is that the Brewers are giving up too much of their future for two uncertain years (or only one year, depending on how much you value Prince’s contribution). Forget for a second that, while Odorizzi and Jeffress are two of the Brewers top prospects, none of the traded players are all that “can’t miss” or high impact. What bothers the doubters – and what I expect to hear from my friend at work – is that, if the Brewers don’t capitalize on Greinke this year or next, then the team will be looking at 2013 with many of their best players gone and no one in the pipeline to replace them. “Is it really worth being good for only one year if we’re going to be terrible for five years afterwards?”

I understand the concern, but, look – trades just don’t work that way.

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Sure, it would be nice to get Zack Greinke without giving up our number one pitching prospect, but why in the world would the Royals ever trade him if they didn’t get someone of that caliber in return? The Brewers are one of 29 teams who might be looking to get better by acquiring Greinke. If they don’t offer Odorizzi, do you honestly believe that the Royals wouldn’t be able to find a more willing trade partner? Dayton Moore was already doing Doug Melvin a favor just be entertaining a package of such impact-less prospects.

“Okay, fine,” you say, “but a team like the Brewers, with such a weak system already, shouldn’t be the ones to offer so many prospects for one guy. Leave that to a team rich in prospects.” Again, I’m not sure you get how trades work. The Brewers have been in a bad situation for a few years. They have a great offense and a decent bullpen, but that’s it. The pitching has been terrible, the defense has been terrible, and the farm system has been weak. That’s why they’ve had two losing seasons in a row.

The Brewers desperately needed to get better in at least one of those categories to have a shot at competing again. Trading out of the offense might have worked, but it’s so top-heavy in Braun and Fielder that a trade like that would’ve done more harm than good. By trading prospects, they took a hit to an already weak part of the franchise while dramatically improving a much more important piece. 

As a fan of the Brewers, your hope should be for them to get better and do their best to capitalize on their talent. Trading for Greinke, even at the expense of an already-weak farm system, is a necessary risk. Otherwise, you’re rooting for the Brewers to be a perennial 77-80 win team. And, while that may be nice and safe, it’ll never make you or me (or Mark A.) happy.

The meme is “your trade proposal sucks”, and it is true much too often. Anyone who thinks that Doug Melvin could’ve acquired Zack Greinke for anything less than he did falls under the same category. I feel silly saying this, but, there are two parties to every trade. Please, Milwaukee fans, consider what the Royals needed and wanted before complaining about the price the Brewers paid.

It really was a terrific deal and has set up two very exciting years out at Miller Park. Just enjoy the ride – it’s going to be something special. 

Larry Granillo

About Larry Granillo

Larry Granillo has been writing Wezen Ball since 2008 and has dealt with such touchy topics as Charlie Brown's baseball stats and Ferris Bueller's day off. In 2010, he got the bright idea to time every home run trot in baseball; he has been missing ever since.

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