Earlier today Zack Greinke opted out of his contract with the Dodgers and elected to become a free agent. He should be at the top of the San Francisco Giants wish list during this Hot Stove season. The Giants have money to spend, and Greinke may be worth the long-term commitment.
Wouldn’t it be something? A Cy Young award-winning pitcher going from the rival Dodgers up north to make his home by the bay. I can’t say I ever remember that happening. Greinke just turned 32 years old, and seems to be in a prime of his career. He’s intelligent and pitches for outs and to the situation. The Giants like smart players and Greinke could work very well with Dave Righetti.
Greinke’s walks per nine innings have dropped dramatically the last seasons seasons to 1.92 and 1.62, respectively. About 48% of the balls in play off Greinke are hit on the ground. His WHIP was a career-low 0.844 in 2015, after hovering around 1.2 for most of his career. All of that makes him the closest thing we have to Greg Maddux in today’s game. Pitching in the spacious Dodger Stadium, Greinke has a career 2.00 ERA. He clearly knows how to induce contact effectively, and allow his ballpark to neutralize most threats.
Greinke still has life on his pitches. According to Brooks Baseball he averages 92 mph on his four-seam fastball and has four other plus pitches. About 50-percent of the time Greinke will throw the fastball while mixing in a change and a curve that he uses to keep hitters off-balance. His fastball will be thrown at varying speeds for an added wrinkle. It’s not a comfortable at-bat when he’s on his game and changing pitches, speeds, and eye level.
The starting rotation was a glaring hole for the Giants in 2015. After being rebuffed by Jon Lester, the Giants went with quantity over quality last season. It didn’t work. Injuries and ineffectiveness plagued the Giants team and the starters were the biggest weakness. This is a hole that needs to be filled by Bobby Evans before he moves on to other areas of the diamond.
I may be biased but if I were a starting pitcher I’d want to start half my games in AT&T Park with that spectacular infield defense behind me. Taking a prized pitcher away from the Dodgers wouldn’t be bad either. During his career, Greinke has been respectful of the Giants organization. He has made himself a home in Los Angeles, and due to his social anxiety disorder, it is difficult to envision him wanting to make an extreme change in environment. San Francisco’s is an organization and setting in which Greinke would feel comfortable. The Dodgers will be aggressive in their pursuit of Greinke, but San Francisco has at least a puncher’s chance at landing the talented right-hander.