- Associated Press - Sunday, December 19, 2010

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers have a deal in place to acquire former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals.

Jason Wood, the agent for Brewers minor league pitcher Jake Odorizzi, confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Sunday. His client is included in the multiplayer trade.

The Royals will receive Odorizzi, shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and another player from the Brewers. Cain’s agent, Joshua Kusnick, confirmed on his Twitter account that his client is going to Kansas City and indicated that another client, minor league pitcher Jeremy Jeffress, could become the additional player.

The Brewers also are expected to get shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt from the Royals.

Multiple media outlets reported the deal, which was expected to become official Sunday, and Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart said the move makes the Brewers a solid contender.

“We were getting better with (Shaun) Marcum, now Greinke,” Hart said in a text message to the AP. “Brewers are for real!”

Brewers slugger Ryan Braun said the deal is “amazing,” assuming it goes through.

“Don’t really know him much yet but really looking forward to getting to know him!” Braun said of Greinke in a text message.

Reports of a potential deal that would send Greinke to Milwaukee surfaced online late Saturday. ESPN and other outlets confirmed the deal Sunday morning.

Greinke was 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA for the Royals last season, a step back from his standout 2009 season, when he went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA and won the Cy Young award.

There are two years left on the four-year, $38 million contract he signed with the Royals in January 2009. He is due $13.5 million each of the final two seasons, although the Brewers may get cash back from the Royals as part of the deal.

Greinke is 60-67 with a 3.82 ERA in six-plus seasons with the Royals. He sat out most of the 2006 season because of an anxiety disorder.

The Brewers have taken two big steps to bolster their starting rotation _ the team’s main weak spot in back-to-back disappointing seasons. Earlier this month, Milwaukee made a trade with Toronto to obtain Marcum for highly regarded infield prospect Brett Lawrie.

It’s an indication the Brewers are trying to make a playoff run in 2011 _ presumably making it far less likely that the team would trade first baseman Prince Fielder, who can become a free agent at the end of the season and has been the subject of widespread trade speculation.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin also went all-in in 2008 with a trade for CC Sabathia, who led the team to the playoffs. With the acquisition of Greinke, the Brewers’ starting staff is closer to par with Philadelphia and San Francisco in the National League.

This deals for starting pitching have cost Milwaukee promising young players who might have figured prominently in the club’s future. Odorizzi was perhaps the Brewers’ top pitching prospect, and Wood said the team tried “very hard” to keep his client out of the deal.

“You know what? It’s a nice compliment that the Royals thought highly enough of Jake to include him in the deal,” Wood said. “It’s quite flattering and Jake takes it as a compliment.

“I think the Royals have a quality player and person,” Wood said. “Zack Greinke is a Cy Young winner who had a phenomenal year.”


AP Sports Writer Colin Fly contributed to this report.

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