Toronto Blue Jays: Is Zack Greinke a Perfect Free Agent Fit in Toronto?

Tim MackayCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Zack Greinke #23 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on September 4, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It's always important to stay grounded.

Especially when you're an MLB franchise that historically has had problems attracting big-name free agents. The Toronto Blue Jays would certainly fall neatly into that category, so if we're discussing the prospect of Zack Greinke joining the team, fans ought to temper themselves. 

Realistically, the Jays will likely need to be the highest bidder in order to wrap up the 28-year-old pitcher.

Does that mean Greinke won't sign in Toronto? 

In a word: No. 

Again, when discussing the possibility of free agents landing in Toronto, it comes down to whether or not the organization is willing to spend the money. While the team has clear holes at several other positions, it's obvious that they need the most help on the mound. 

The Jays have reached a tipping point with their fanbase, and to avoid backlash, they need to inspire hope this winter. Fans have waited very patiently for the team to develop and grow through GM Alex Anthopoulos, and another uneventful offseason would be incredibly unpopular. 

Trades for young prospects aren't going to cut it this time around.

A big move for a big name is exactly what the franchise needs in terms of re-igniting fan interest. 

Could Zack Greinke be that guy?

He's got the credentials, having been a consistent producer even before his Cy Young Award in 2009. While Greinke has been traded twice in the last two years, the fact is he'll be the best free agent pitcher available this offseason. 

Stepping up and handing out a big contract will not only re-establish faith in ownership. It will send a message to players, managers and fans that the Jays think they are ready to commit to winning. Greinke will likely command somewhere in the region of $80 million over five years which would actually be quite tame considering some of the recent contracts we've seen. 

Is Greinke a good fit for the Jays? Any proven, quality starting pitcher would fit in well with the Jays right now. Slotting him in behind Brandon Morrow adds depth to a very shallow rotation and perhaps takes some of the pressure off of Ricky Romero heading into 2013. 

Follow those three up with Henderson Alvarez and Kyle Drabek, and the rotation is starting to look a heck of a lot better than it does now. 

Considering the injuries suffered by the Jays' starters this season, it's likely that the expectations for the Jays in 2013 will be quite low. But if the team can avoid injury and have Ricky Romero return as even half the pitcher he was before his disastrous performance in 2012, there's a chance the team could surprise. 

However, signing a talented, inning-chewing, former Cy Young winner would do wonders for appealing to an increasingly disinterested and disillusioned fanbase, while also adding to a potentially surprising roster.