Zack Greinke to Diamondbacks: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke throws to the New York Mets during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League Division Series, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced they have signed prized pitcher Zack Greinke, who has pulled off an offseason stunner. 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the agreement between Greinke and the Diamondbacks.

Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com reported it is for a whopping $206.5 million, and CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported Greinke will receive an $18 million signing bonus, which Heyman noted is protected during lockouts. Heyman noted the yearly breakdown is "$31M, 31M, 31M, 31.5M, 32M, 32M" and that Greinke has agreed to donate one percent of his yearly salary to the Diamondbacks' charity.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported there is no buyout in the deal. Heyman reported on Dec. 6 that Greinke also received a limited no-trade clause in the contract but added that "he also gets $2M if traded (one time)."

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the $34.3 million annual average of the deal is 10 percent higher than the record David Price tied earlier this week.

Greinke was scheduled to have a physical on Monday, per Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.

Heyman reported the Los Angeles Dodgers offered Greinke a five-year deal averaging around $31 million. Team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman released a statement following the deal:

Greinke will face a tax rate of 4.54 percent in Arizona rather than the 13.3 percent rate in California, making the deal even more lucrative, per Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area.

According to Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks may not be done adding pitchers, as the team met with starter Mike Leake on Dec. 3 and remains interested even after the Greinke signing.

Greinke is coming off a dominant season with the Dodgers that saw him go 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. He posted a 2.30 ERA with 555 strikeouts in 602.2 innings in three years with the organization after signing as a free agent in 2012.

The 32-year-old right-hander still had three years and $71 million in base salary left on that contract when he opted out in early November, per Spotrac. The allure of landing another lucrative long-term deal was too good to pass up after his outstanding campaign.

Greinke overcame some consistency issues that plagued him earlier in his career to establish himself as an ace, so there's no doubt he deserves a monster contract. The question is exactly what type of performance to expect from him moving forward.

While his raw numbers were mostly microscopic last season, the advanced statistics suggest he wasn't quite that extraordinary.

He had a 3.22 xFIP and 3.27 SIERA in 2015, according to FanGraphs, which suggests he benefited from some luck. The site did rank Arizona as the sixth-best defense in baseball last year, well ahead of the Dodgers at No. 16, so there's no reason to think Greinke's numbers will drop. 

Arizona has been trying to upgrade its rotation this offseason. Johnny Cueto reportedly rejected a $120 million deal from the team, according to Gilbert

The Diamondbacks went in a different direction after Cueto left them at the altar, ultimately getting a better starting pitcher to lead their rotation who doesn't have the injury history Cueto does. 

Now that he's signed, the onus is on Greinke to live up to expectations, and they will surely be sky-high. It shouldn't be a major issue during the early years of the deal, but how long he can pitch like a Cy Young candidate will determine the overall value.

Even in the short term, he probably won't be able to match his 2015 numbers. Something more along the lines of his first two seasons in Los Angeles (2.63 and 2.71 ERA) is probably a fair target, and that would still make him a top-tier starter.

Adding Greinke provides a boost to the Diamondbacks' 2016 outlook. The team finished 79-83 last season with a rotation led by Rubby De La Rosa. It has made itself a playoff contender now while taking a significant bite out of Los Angeles' rotation.

It's a win-win all around for Arizona.

 

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