A reliable source close to the team has confirmed that the Brewers late Saturday agreed to terms with Kansas City on a deal that would send right-hander Zack Greinke to Milwaukee.
In the deal, the Brewers would send the Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar and prospect pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress for Greinke, who went 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA last season with Kansas City.
The Brewers are expected to receive another "major league" player in the deal, according to the source. Jim Breen of the blog "Bernie's Crew" reported that player to be shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.
Should the deal hold up, it would transform the Brewers into a legitimate favorite in the National League Central.
Milwaukee went into the off-season in desperate need of frontline starting pitching after finishing with 4.58 staff ERA -- good for 14th in the National League.
Just before the Winter Meetings, general manager Doug Melvin sent the franchise's top-rated minor league prospect, infielder Brett Lawrie, to Toronto for right-hander Shaun Marcum.
To land Greinke, though, Melvin had to give up an awful lot from the farm system.
Cain was considered the front-runner to earn the starting job in center field after impressing down the stretch in 2010 while Carlos Gomez, acquired last winter for shortstop J.J. Hardy, struggled to get on base.
Escobar was the "shortstop of the future," and paved the way for Hardy's move to Minnesota for Gomez.
Jeffress finally made it to the big leagues in 2010, his minor league career stalled at times by suspensions for violating baseball's drug policy. He went 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 outings for the Brewers.
Odorizzi was one of the Brewers few pitching prospects and went 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 23 appearances (20 starts) for Class A Wisconsin this season. He combined with reliever Adrian Rosario to throw a no-hitter against Cedar Rapids in August, striking out 10 in eight innings.
Greinke was the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner after going 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA with the Royals. But playing for a perennial also-ran took its toll on Greinke, who was made available by the Royals heading into the off-season and earlier this week, officially requested a trade out of Kansas City.
In seven major league seasons, Greinke is 60-67 with a 3.82 ERA. He signed a four-year extension prior to the '09 season and will earn $27 million over the next two years.