Business has just picked up, ladies and gentlemen.
News broke late yesterday evening, that the Arizona Diamondbacks had signed free-agent Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206 million pact. This contract will put the 32 year-old in the history books, as he will now earn an average annual value (AAV) of $34.4 million per year- the highest mark in baseball history.
The signing is a win-win for Arizona. Not only do they bolster their own rotation, but they seriously hamper the rotation of the division-rival Dodgers, while also keeping him from signing with the San Francisco Giants. By adding the former Cy Young winner, the Diamondbacks have acquired something that they have lacked since the days of Randy Johnson and Brandon Webb, a true front-end “ace”.
This move practically came out of nowhere, as reports mentioned that it was down between the Dodgers and Giants for Greinke’s services. There was zero indication of any interest by Arizona, until early Friday evening.
So, now that we have recapped the monumental signing, let’s break down just how this helps the Diamondbacks.
Entering the offseason, the team’s rotation was far from impressive. Led by Patrick Corbin, Arizona’s rotation was young, inexperienced, and at best….average. Behind Corbin, the D-Backs rolled out a rotation consisting of Archie Bradley, Robbie Ray, Rubby De La Rosa, and Chase Anderson. This rotation combined, only tallied 27 wins. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Zack Greinke steamrolled his way to 19 wins. I believe it’s pretty safe to say that this move will solidify a shaky Diamondbacks rotation.
While it was expected that the Diamondbacks would be patient, developing their young talent before looking to compete with the Dodgers and Giants, this move signals otherwise. Instead of looking for solid contributions from a number of mid-tier starters like Wei-Yin Chen and Scott Kazmir, Arizona swung for the fences. They landed one of the big fish in the ocean, and look primed to hit the ground running in 2016.
Greinke will join an Arizona team that has solid building blocks for success. Offensively, the team is led by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and emerging outfielder A.J. Pollock. Defensively, he’ll be covered by a rather impressive assembly of talent, including Nick Ahmed and Ender Inciarte. With Greinke’s addition, it’s obvious that the D-Backs are looking for success, sooner, rather than later. By stealing the ace away from Los Angeles, and keeping him out of San Francisco, their chances of competing in the NL West drastically improve. That’s not including the direct impact that the former Kansas City Royal will have on the team.
With the length of this deal taking Greinke to his age-38 season, fans will obviously worry about a drop-off in production. Is that a fair assessment, though? Greinke has been a bit of a “late-bloomer” in his career. In his first four seasons, he never recorded a winning record. It wasn’t until his sixth season, that he became a household name by winning the 2009 AL Cy Young Award. Since his move to the National League, Greinke has only seemed to have gotten better. Tallying a career 66-69 record and a 3.80 ERA in his eight American League seasons, a switch was flipped when he was dealt to Milwaukee in 2011. Since that move, Greinke has gone 76-24, with a 2.75 ERA in five seasons in the NL.
Now, it’s never safe to assume that a pitcher will continue to pitch at a high-level for more than one season, let alone six. However, with Greinke’s track record over the last eight seasons, he could be one of the few to defy logic. I believe that this contract will prove to be more than beneficial to both sides, and each party will be satisfied with the results.
The Snakes are back.