The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed Zack Greinke to a blockbuster six-year deal worth $206 million, according to MLB insider Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The D-Backs reportedly defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants in the sweepstakes for the top pitcher this offseason.
Arizona's willingness to commit six years to Greinke appeared to be the difference in what had become a three-team race of the National League West opponents. It is also a massive commitment for a club whose payroll for the current year is $88 million, about a third of what Los Angeles has.
The Dodgers, who have no budgetary constraints, would have passed on the pitcher based on principle, and now likely to depend on their second-tier free agents such as Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, and Scott Kazmir, Yahoo Sports observes. In a statement, Dodgers' President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said, "We made a very strong offer to retain Zack but clearly he got a deal that fit better for him and his family."
Greinke, 32, was a highly sought after free agent mainly because of his impressive 1.66 ERA, which is the best in the league for the past 20 years. The right-handed pitcher had a 19-3 record while playing at least six innings in all of his 32 starts. Greinke helped lead the Dodgers to their third straight division title in 2015. He is also a runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award.
However, he is not the only Cy Young awardee who recently signed a mega-contract. Fellow pitcher David Price joined the Boston Red Sox for $217 million spread over seven years. Greinke's new deal contains deferred money, but the $34.4 million average he got will be the league's highest, topping Price's $31 million. The former opted out of his six-year contract with the Dodgers worth $147 million contract last month. There were three years and $71 million left on the now-dissolved deal.
After the unofficial but expected acquisition of Greinke, it looks like the Diamondbacks are not ready to stop spending yet. Rosenthal also reports that the team's chief baseball officer Tony La Russa and general manager Dave Stewart will continue pursuing Mike Leake, another right-handed pitcher.
Early last month, BaseballEssential already reported that the D-Backs have a significant interest in grabbing Leake, who is a product of Arizona State University. Unlike Greinke, acquiring Leake would not require Arizona to part with a draft pick because he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds during the season.
The former Arizona State Sun Devils player spent his first five seasons with the Reds before being dealt with the San Francisco Giants last year. The 28-year-old Leake finished 2015 with an ERA of 3.70, 1.16 WHIP and an 11-10 record with the two clubs.