On Dec. 19, 2010, the Kansas City Royals traded one of the league’s best young pitchers in Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers. Along with Greinke, Kansas City gave up Yuniesky Betancourt for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi.
The Brewers got a year and a half of great pitching out of Greinke, and a bust out of Betancourt. It took some time, but it’s now safe to say the Royals won the trade. Jeffress was a subpar reliever who fizzled out, and Odorizzi was part of the trade bait that brought James Shields to town.
The real haul for Kansas City came with Cain and Escobar. Both guys are becoming the well-rounded players GM Dayton Moore was hoping for. Escobar’s speed and defense has always been there, and his inconsistent bat is starting to come around.
Cain has battled injuries and crowded outfields to finally get regular playing time in 2014. It took awhile, but manager Ned Yost has recently recognized Cain as one of the better bats in the lineup with a bump up to the leadoff spot.
On Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, Cain showed Yost he made the right move by going four-for-four with a triple, walk, stolen base and two runs scored. Cain did everything you could ask of him as a leadoff hitter, but unfortunately he was left in scoring position three times and the Royals fell to the Rays 4-3.
The Brewers got a very nice rental out of the deal, but it’s now clear as day, the Royals won the trade. Cain and Escobar are the types of well-rounded, underrated talent that helps small market teams make it to the postseason.