Zack Greinke Rumors: Pros and Cons of Signing with Each Top Suitor
For more than a year now, we've heard about how attractive an offseason free-agent market this could be for starting pitchers, with aces Matt Cain, Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke available.
But Cain has already been locked in by the Giants and Hamels signed with the Phillies before entering the free-agent market, leaving Greinke as the top available starting pitcher.
As expected, the list of suitors for Greinke is long, with a number of contending teams among those interested in signing the Angels' ace.
No player comes without some risk, however, and there are inevitably downsides to every lucrative contract that's handed out.
Toronto Blue Jays
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With issues in the starting rotation last season, the Blue Jays have to know that it will take a strong showing from their starters to contend in the always-tough AL East.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports pointed out that the team hoped to make a big splash in the offseason market, and that the potential of bringing in a pitcher like Greinke was there.
They didn't add Greinke, but in trading for Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, the Blue Jays made huge strides in improving their starting rotation.
Given the financial commitment that has already been made, it's hard to believe they'll still be serious suitors for Greinke's services, as it would take another massive financial leap.
However, I don't think anyone would deny that adding him to that mix would transform the rotation into one of the best in the league.
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After failing to sign Zack Greinke to a long-term extension moved the Brewers to trade him to the Halos, it looked like his time in Milwaukee was in the past.
That may well still be the case. But Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin is still in contact with Greinke, and while it doesn't sound like any meaningful contract discussions have taken place, his old stomping grounds could be worth keeping an eye on.
With Greinke, Randy Wolf and Shaun Marcum all departed from the Brewers' rotation since last summer, any help would be a welcomed addition, and signing the ace longterm would signal a big shift in the NL Central.
As is the case with many other smaller-market organizations, making such a large signing can handcuff a GM when additional moves need to be made.
It could very well be that Prince Fielder was on his way out before he even entered free agency, but with Greinke likely commanding a similar dollar amount, the financials may not work out with so much money already committed to Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Rickie Weeks and Yovani Gallardo over the next couple of seasons.
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After two consecutive appearances in the World Series in 2010 and 2011, the Rangers' season ended with a thud as they were ousted before reaching the ALDS.
They now face some huge decisions, namely whether to offer a lucrative extension to Josh Hamilton.
With the team not working hard to bring back Ryan Dempster next season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has noted that it's looking more and more like the Rangers will make a play for Greinke, a move that could also signal the end of the Hamilton era in Texas.
Allowing Hamilton to leave may seem like a smart option, given the lofty demands he has made known since entering free agency. But the consideration of the adverse impact it could have on their lineup can't be ignored as management assesses their offseason blueprint.
Having patched their starting rotation with starters like Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster of late, adding someone that can complete a formidable one-two punch along with Yu Darvish would certainly become a strong asset heading into Octobers.
Los Angeles Dodgers
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The Los Angeles Dodgers showed a willingness to spend any amount necessary when they committed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to players brought over from the Boston Red Sox.
They ended up falling short of playoff contention, but they are more than ready to open up their checkbooks again this offseason.
Los Angeles has already spoken to representatives for Greinke (h/t Bob Nightengale, USA Today) and given the way they don't seem to have much of a threshold when it comes to spending, they'll likely match any offer received.
Bringing Greinke into a rotation that already boasts Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett would definitely give the Dodgers the best top-three in the NL West, but that doesn't always translate to a winning way.
We've seen top rotations like that in Philadelphia experience the highest of highs, but in 2012 that same rotation struggled to show its true form, something that the suddenly big-spending Dodgers can ill afford if they make an even steeper investment this winter.
Los Angeles Angels
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After coming over from the Milwaukee Brewers prior to this year's trade deadline, Zack Greinke struggled somewhat upon his arrival in Los Angeles. He went 6-2, but saw his strikeout averages drop while his walk numbers increased.
There's no reason to think he wouldn't be back to his old ways next season, and the Angels will no doubt make signing him a priority this offseason.
Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times has noted that while his cost may be the highest in this offseason market, losing Greinke would create a hole in the Angels' rotation, something that they can't afford in the competitive AL West.
They showed a willingness to spend money this past offseason, and with one more strong push for Greinke this winter, the Halos have to like their chances entering 2013.
The Angels may not need any additional incentive to keep Greinke around, but with their in-city counterparts and the division rival Rangers also in the mix, letting him go could prove costly on multiple fronts.