The Arizona Diamondbacks went into this offseason looking to seriously upgrade their pitching staff. Their mission was accomplished with the signing of free agent starter Zack Greinke.
After opting out of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Greinke and the Diamondbacks agreed to a six-year $206 million dollar deal, securing the ace the team has longed for since the likes of Randy Johnson and Brandon Webb led their respective staffs. The deal made Greinke the highest paid player in the MLB, as he will make $34.2 million per year.
Greinke is coming off of arguably the best season of his career last year with the Dodgers. He went 19-3 with a remarkable 1.66 ERA, an outstanding 0.84 WHIP and finished second in the National League Cy Young Award race behind Jake Arietta of the Chicago Cubs. Over his 14 years in the major leagues, Greinke has a career record of 142-93 with a 3.35 ERA over that span. In 2009, while with the Kansas City Royals, Greinke won the American League Cy Young Award after going 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA in 33 starts, six of which were complete games, a career high.
Greinke is 32 years old, which to some may seem too old to give such a large contract to, but Greinke is the kind of pitcher who can be very effective into his late 30’s. Greinke is a true pitcher whose main focus is on the location of his pitches and not the velocity. With that, Greinke can pitch effectively all throughout his six-year contract.
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Greinke is known for his tremendous study of every team and while yes, the Diamondbacks offered the most money, Greinke has stated that he was intrigued by Arizona last season before there was any chance of the Diamondbacks signing him. At his introductory press conference in December, Greinke said he started paying attention to the Diamondbacks during the All Star break last year, most notably their offense. He said that this team was “an ace away” from winning and that he can help.
That’s definitely encouraging for Diamondbacks fans to hear. At his press conference, Greinke said he was “minutes away” from signing with another team, presumably the Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants and he was very excited when Arizona came calling.
The Diamondbacks have shown that they are committed to winning. Along with one of the top offenses in the league, Greinke will be an important key to Arizona becoming a contender in the NL West.