AKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. ó Brett Lawrie, who starred for the Canadian Junior National Team and played for Team Canada in the 2008 Olympics, will join the Toronto Blue Jays Monday morning.
The Blue Jays have traded for Lawrie, a former No. 1 pick, with the Milwaukee Brewers for right-hander Shaun Marcum.
The second baseman from Langley, B.C. was a first-round pick in 2008, chosen 16th overall in North America and is the Brewers' top prospect.
He hit .285 this year with eight homers, 63 RBIs and a .797 OPS in 135 games this season at double-A Huntsville, his second season of pro ball.
After missing all of 2009 after coming off Tommy John surgery, Marcum was 13-8 with a 3.64 earned run average in 31 starts.
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash celebrated the deal with a steak dinner at the Waldorf Astoria.
Lawrie is a pugnacious player, who plays like a hockey puck. For example, last season he and Chris Dennis of Amherstburg got into a pre-game scrap around the batting cage at class-A Wisconsin.
They were wearing the same uniform ... as teammates.
Like Adam Loewen, Lawrie is a legend on the international stage: In the spring of 2008 when he hit five homers in a doubleheader against Dominican first- and second-year pros, not one pitch he hit was below 90 m.p.h. Two were to left, two to right and the final homer to centre.
How does this move fit into the big picture ... moving Marcum the opening day starter?
Before anyone gets into a huge snit over dealing an established starter for a pup out of his teens, let's wait and see what the rest of the week brings.
Perhaps there is an inbound starter from the Central Time Zone.
For an obstacle has been removed from the path of Zack Greinke joining the Jays.
The Jays are one of 15 clubs on Greinke's no-trade list.
However, the former Cy Young award winner has told the Royals that he is willing "to go anywhere," according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, who has a career .621 average at being accurate.
Talk is, that the Royals would move Greinke if they could obtain a package of right-hander Kyle Drabek, outfielder Travis Snider and some minor leaguers.
The Boston Red Sox moved three prized prospects - Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes - to the San Diego Padres for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Roy Halladay went to the Philadelphia Phillies for three prospects, including Drabek.
Gonzalez was entering his walk year, as Halladay was when dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies a year ago.
Greinke is signed for two more years at $13.5 million per season.
And if what we're hearing that the Jays is true - that after their 85-win season they now think "they are one piece away" from contending in the American League East, - well there are only two starting pitchers: Free-agent Cliff Lee. Or Greinke.
Do the Jays move Drabek, who dominated at double-A New Hampshire, made three September starts for the Jays and could start next season at triple-A Las Vegas with the potential to be an ace?
And how do the close-mouthed Jays view Greinke?
Another Halladay, as he was when he went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA in 33 starts logging 229 innings in 2009 to win the Cy Young award?
Or, is he going to be like this season, when he was 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA in 33 starts and 222 innings?
The next few days at the annual meetings will decide whether Greinke is staying in K.C. or moving to Toronto or elsewhere.
Free agent signs
Lance Berkman signed a one-year, $8-million US deal to join the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Jays signed free-agent, minor-league, righty reliever Winston Abreu, 33. In the previous two seasons at Triple-A Durham he walked 37 and struck out 159 in 106 innings. He was 3-5 with 38 saves and has a heavy fastball.