How Zack Greinke Signing with the Rangers Would Have Changed MLB's Offseason
The Dodgers' signing of Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147 million deal was one of the offseason's biggest moves, but it almost didn't happen.
It seems the Rangers had a real chance to sign Greinke, as he gave them a chance to beat the Dodgers' offer, but the team inevitably turned down his proposal (h/t Jon Heyman of CBSSports).
The biggest sticking point appears to have been the Rangers' unwillingness to give Greinke a three-year opt out clause, coupled with his preference to play in the National League.
While it is all speculation at this point, here is a look at how the offseason could have played out had the Rangers been the ones who signed Greinke.
1. Dodgers acquire James Shields from Rays for Andre Ethier
Back in late October, the Dodgers identified Rays right-hander James Shields as their No. 1 target with the offseason kicking off (h/t Mark Saxon of ESPN).
The two sides never came to terms, but had the Dodgers missed out on Greinke they likely would have made every effort to land Shields as their No. 2 starter.
Lacking in impact minor league bats in the Wil Myers mold, the Dodgers would have had to surrender a big league bat, and there were talks off and on of Ethier being available.
Signed to a five-year, $85 million extension last offseason, Ethier would be a significant investment for the Rays, but one that could reap immediate rewards.
2. Dodgers re-sign Shane Victorino to a one-year, $10 million deal
Shortly after being traded to the Dodgers at the deadline last season, Victorino made it known that he would love to stay in LA beyond the 2012 season with free agency looming (h/t ESPN).
The team let him walk, and he wound up signing a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox in what may well have been an over-spend.
With Ethier gone, the Dodgers would need a stop gap option in right field, and since he enjoyed his time in Los Angeles, the team may have been willing to get him cheaper.
A one-year, $10 million deal may have been possible, and it would have helped bridge the gap to top prospect Yasiel Puig.
3. Red Sox re-sign Cody Ross to a three-year, $30 million deal
After settling on a one-year, $3 million deal with the Red Sox last offseason, Ross did a nice job boosting his stock with 22 home runs and 81 RBI last season.
Had the Red Sox not made the move to sign Victorino, re-signing Ross may have been their best option to fill the void in right field.
He wound up signing a three-year, $26 million deal with the Diamondbacks and will be replacing Justin Upton in right field.
The Diamondbacks could have gone without signing him, turning the starting job over to Gerardo Parra instead and saving some money in the process.
4. Royals sign Kyle Lohse to a four-year, $56 million deal
Despite turning in a career-year last season in going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA as the ace of the Cardinals' staff, Lohse has been unable to find a job this offseason in free agency.
After turning down a qualifying offer from the Cardinals to kick off the offseason, Lohse has draft pick compensation tied to him this offseason, and teams have been unwilling to surrender their first round pick to sign him.
The Royals were clearly seeking a frontline starter when the offseason began, and had Shields wound up with the Dodgers the team may very well have turned their attention to Lohse.
Lohse made $11.875 million last season, so giving him a four-year deal at $14 million annually would still be decent money but likely not enough to price the Royals out of the market.
5. Rangers trade Martin Perez to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano
Even if they had added Greinke, the Rangers still would have been looking to improve their offense after losing Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli.
With Greinke in the rotation, top pitching prospect Martin Perez would be the odd-man out in the rotation and could have been used as trade bait for the team to improve offensively.
The Cubs' biggest need continues to be improving pitching depth, and Perez would give them a solid young arm with some upside. With the Cubs willing to take on a good chunk of Soriano's salary, the Rangers could get two seasons of Soriano at a bargain.
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