Lawrie says he was happy to be traded

Lawrie says he was happy to be traded

PHOENIX -- Former top Brewers prospect Brett Lawrie told ESPN.com that it "was time for a move" when Milwaukee dealt him to the Blue Jays in December 2010.

"I felt like I wasn't given the opportunity that I needed there," Lawrie told ESPN reporter Jayson Stark. "And it was time for a move, and they needed some pitching, so I was the first candidate to be kind of kicked out the door. I guess you could say it was OK with me because ... I needed a fresh start. I needed a new team. I needed some new guys. And I think it was a good way to jump into the big leagues. I got a chance to jump in with a new team."

He also said, "Things tend to go wrong when you try and change people. And I think when I was with the Brewers and I was in the Minor League system, it felt like I was trying to be changed -- like they were trying to change me, like I was the same as everybody else. I'm not the same as everybody else. I'm Brett Lawrie. It's like, everyone's different. You can't try and make everyone be the same."

Lawrie, a sensational hitter entering his first full Major League season, was the price paid for starter Shaun Marcum, who, with fellow acquisition Zack Greinke, helped solidify a starting rotation that delivered the Brewers to the 2011 National League Championship Series.

From a baseball standpoint, the deal made sense for each team.

But both Lawrie and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told Stark about underlying tensions between Lawrie and the team that made him a first-round Draft pick in 2008. Those issues, Melvin said, accounted for only "some small percentage" of the logic behind the trade.

"I think he felt we were taking his aggressive personality away from him," Melvin told Stark. "But we didn't try to change him. When he first came in, we let him do what he wanted to do. When he first signed, he wanted to be a catcher because he thought that was the quickest way to the big leagues. Then, he said he wanted to play second base because he thought Rickie Weeks would become a free agent. Then, we signed Rickie to a long-term deal, and he wanted to play third base. But he was just a kid looking for the quickest way to the big leagues. And there's nothing wrong with that."

Stark detailed what he termed "a major blow-up" at the end of the 2010 season, when Lawrie refused an assignment to the Arizona Fall League.

"We told him the plan was, 'If you go to the Arizona Fall League, we'll invite you to big league camp, at 19, and that's never happened before here,'" Melvin said. "He said, 'I'm not going to the Fall League.' We said, 'Then we can't invite you to big league camp.' He said, 'I should be in the big leagues in September.' We said, 'We know what we're doing. We have a lot of confidence in your ability. Please trust us.' But he wanted to be in the big leagues."