Zack Greinke is no longer on the Yankees' radar after being traded to Milwaukee (where I can now use my company's season ticket connection to try to see him pitch a few times next year. SCORE!!) But in looking at what the Brew Crew gave up to get Greinke, it raises questions in my mind as to what kind of package the Yankees would have had to put together to bring Greinke into the Bronx. It was believed that any package would have had to start with Jesus Montero, but with the Royals having their own top hitting-heavy catching prospect in the Minors and the fact that they took on less than top-level talent from Milwaukee, it's not outside the realm of possibility to think that a comparable or better package could have been built by the Yankees without including The Chosen One.
Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar are decent prospects, but nothing that lights the world on fire. Escobar can field pretty well but his tripleslash was .235/.288/.326 in a full season of at-bats. And Cain showed some flashes after a late season call up, but he doesn't do anything well enough to be reasonably be considered a future All-Star or even an impact player. If the Yankees started their package around Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez, you're talking about a SS prospect who probably already is a better hitter than Escobar and an everyday outfielder who gets on base, covers tons of ground, and could steal 50+ bases and score 100+ runs at the top of a lineup. That should have gotten the discussion started.
Now onto the pitching prospects. Jeremy Jeffress is a former first rounder who pitched 10 innings for the Crew after a September call up last season. He has a big time power arm and could translate to a lights out closer, but the dude also likes to puff a little ganj every now and then and he isn't exactly good at hiding it, as evidenced by his 2 marijuana-related suspensions in the Minors. Jake Odorizzi, on the other hand, hasn't thrown up any red flags with his off-the-field activities and his on-the-field activities make him arguably one of the top 10 pitching prospects in baseball. But he also finished last season in Class-A and so probably wouldn't end 2011 any higher than Triple-A if he's really good. By comparison from a Yankee prospective, you put Dellin Betances (power arm with question marks, albeit not weed ones) and Graham Stoneburner (high-ceiling Class-A pitcher looking to take the next step) together with Gardy and Nunez and that's pretty much the same package as what Milwaukee offered, maybe even a little better. And the Yankees probably wouldn't have asked for or wanted Betancourt and $2 mil back in return.
Now I'm on record as being high on Betances and Stoneburner and I'm as big a Brett Gardner fan as anybody, but the 2 guys the Yankees really weren't looking to give up were Jesus and ManBan and this hypothetical trade offer keeps both those guys off the table. Would that would have been worth offering if it brings back a former Cy Young winner to plug the hole in the 2nd spot in your rotation at a reasonable contract for the next 2 years? I think it would have been worth a shot. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? Dayton Moore says "no" and hangs up the phone and you're right back where you started.