December 10, 2012
Dodgers Go Big for Greinke
Agreed to a contract with SP-R Zack Greinke for six years, $147 million, with a reported player opt-out clause after 2015 [12/10]
From 2011 through 2013, in exchange for Zack Greinke’s services, Greinke’s employers will have given up five years of Alcides Escobar, six years of Lorenzo Cain, six years of Jake Odorizzi, six years of Jeremy Jeffress, six years of Jean Segura, six years of Johnny Hellweg, six years of Ariel Pena and roughly $51 million (plus an impending luxury-tax penalty). It’s a staggering price to pay for one pitcher, and reflects a core belief of baseball men: there is nothing like an ace. Unfortunately, Zack Greinke has been nothing like an ace.
OK, two things to walk back in that paragraph. 1. One of the teams that gave up all that to get Greinke also got back a lot of all that to get Greinke; the Brewers didn’t know or expect or probably hope they’d be cashing Greinke out just before he hit free agency, but it might be more fair to say that Greinke’s teams paid all that for Greinke and the expectation of a compensatory draft pick or something like that. 2. Declaring Greinke nothing of an ace sells short how difficult Greinke is to define, even now after nine seasons. He’s a peripherals ace: the eighth-best FIP in baseball over the past three years, slotted between Felix Hernandez and Madison Bumgarner, ahead of Sabathia, Price, Weaver. Peripherals are significant; they might be the most significant thing, until they persistently diverge from the actual results. Greinke has the 41st-best ERA+ over the past three years, between Wandy Rodriguez and Derek Holland.