Zack Greinke TBOH Staff FA Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers


The Los Angeles Dodgers should be able to re-sign ace righty Zack Greinke.

In the last of our staff picks as to the landing spots for the top MLB free agents, the near-unanimous consensus was that Greinke will return to Los Angeles, continuing to pair with Clayton Kershaw in a dominating lefty-righty tandem for the big spending NL West champions.

Staffers Alexis Girardo, Ethan Witte, Ryan Geratel, David Mosemann, and Tyler DiSalle all sent him back to the Dodgers. However, I just had to be the one contrarian, and I made it a doozy, matching Greinke up with LA’s longtime bitter divisional rivals, the San Francisco Giants.

David spoke for the majority when he noted “Los Angeles loves stuffing their rotation full of aces. Why not go with the guy they already know?” Ryan said “they have the money and…a legitimate shot at a World Series, as long as they have Greinke and Kershaw at the top of their rotation.”

Tyler focused on their deep pockets in saying “money isn’t an issue for LA, and they won’t let division rival San Francisco steal their ace away from them.” Tyler also noted that “for Greinke, there is familiarity there and he’ll be a big part of another strong Dodgers club.

While I agree that the Dodgers should be strong again, the fact is that with Greinke added, the Giants would be just as formidable. He would pair with Madison Bumgarner instead of Kershaw, again becoming part of an outstanding left-right tandem. The move helps the GMen on two fronts, in making themselves better, and in weakening their rivals.

One thing that makes Greinke’s situation a bit more dicey than other aces on the market, such as David Price and Johnny Cueto, is that he turned 32 years of age back in late October. While it is likely that he will sustain success for another couple of seasons, after that we are starting to get into iffy territory for players in this post-PED age.

Greinke began his professional career after being chosen as the 6th overall pick in the first round of the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals out of Apopka High School in his native Florida.

He famously struggled with ‘social anxiety disorder’, something that many evaluators felt contributed to early struggles as a professional. However, he denied that it ever affected him on the mound, and now has it under control thanks to an authorized Zoloft prescription.

As he told Eric Stephen with SB Nation’s Tru Blue LA blog back in 2013: “It hasn’t been hard since I started taking the medicine. I don’t know if I got lucky, or what. I wish I knew about it before. I didn’t know there was something for it. I used to read self-help books trying to make myself better.

Greinke debuted in the big leagues as a 20-year old with Kansas City in 2004, going 8-11 with a 3.97 ERA over 24 starts, finishing fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

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After seven seasons in KC in which he went 60-67 and won the 2009 AL Cy Young Award, Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Yuniesky Betancourt on December 19th, 2010 in exchange for a four-prospect package that included both Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar, who would each become key players on the Royals’ 2015 World Series winner.

Greinke was outstanding over parts of two seasons with the Brew Crew, going 25-9 in 49 starts. He helped the team to reach the 2011 NLCS, but was hit hard in both of his starts against the Cardinals. He won the opener despite giving up six earned runs, but then lost the pivotal Game Five that put Saint Louis up 3-2 in a series they would win in six games.

Just prior to the trade deadline the following season, the Brewers dealt him to the Los Angeles Angels for a trio of prospects, including shortstop Jean Segura. The Halos were making a playoff push, but fell short despite winning 89 games.

That offseason, Greinke reached free agency for the first time. He opted to stay in LA, but this time went with the Dodgers, inking a contract that paid him $70 million over the last three seasons, but that also provided him with an opt-out clause, which he exercised following this season.

His previous deal would have seen him haul in another $77 million for three more Dodgers’ seasons, so he will absolutely be seeking something north of $80 million and four years, possibly looking at a 7-year, $150 million dollar deal. That is a ballpark that few teams are willing to play in, no matter how much cash if floating around the industry these days.

The Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels are all big bucks teams who would love to have his services. Look for one of these big boys to be the landing spot for the righthander. Whomever signs his name on a contract needs to cash in on the field in the next couple of seasons, because the final two to three years of the deal could prove extremely player friendly as he ages out of his prime.