Every Dodger fan knows that Zack Greinke signed with the D-Backs after the 2015 season for $200+ million. On Thursday, The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro wrote this about Zack Greinke:
After his first pitch of the day on Wednesday afternoon – a fastball on the outer half for a called strike – Zack Greinke stole a glance at the video board at Salt River Fields: pitch speed, 88 mph.
For the second time in as many starts this spring, the Diamondbacks’ high-priced ace exhibited a fastball a few ticks below its usual range. He also was hit hard, allowing six hits in 2 2/3 innings in an exhibition against Mexico’s entry for the World Baseball Classic.
A year ago, Greinke was topping at 93 mph in his second start of the spring. On Wednesday, his fastball was as high as 89.5 mph, according to the Statcast tracking system.
“It’s still early,” Greinke said. “It is what it is. It’s still early and it’s not like some crazy, crazy thing. But it’s not ideal, either.”
Of course, the team is saying all the right things, but the fact of the matter is that Greinke’s velocity has been declining for 3 years and now he’s 33 years old. At age 33, Greg Maddux, who historically put up ERA’s of 1.00’s and 2.00’s started putting up ERA’s of 3.57 to 4.69. He did have a good year or two, here and there, but at age 33 his decline was apparent. Maddux was never the fastball pitcher that Greinke was although both depended upon pinpoint control. Greinke will also be 34 in October. The future is not bright for him, nor his team.
He was signed by the D-Backs for $206 million over 6 years. Yet, all we seem to hear about is how stupid the Dodgers front office was for signing these players:
- Scott Kazmir – 3 years/$48 million
- Brandon McCarthy – 4 years/$48 million
- Brett Anderson – 2 years/$26 million
- Rich Hill – 3 years/$48 million
- Kenta Maeda – 6 years/$25 million
Yes, McCarthy has been a disaster. Anderson was half a disaster and Scott Kazmir may be finished, but do you realize that the Dodgers have no significant long-term obligations to any of these pitchers AND the five pitchers listed above are guaranteed $195 million, which is eleven million less than the D-Backs owe Greinke? The Diamondbacks and the Red Sox have huge exposure with the big contracts signed by Greinke and David Price. What the Dodgers did may seem crazy to some, but they are crazy like a fox. It’s called called “limiting your exposure.”
They knew the risks, but the exposure was limited. They got a good year out of Anderson and a bust the next year. Risk-Reward! It was a risk offering Anderson the QO, but My God, it was $15.8 million and he could have just as easily been healthy. McCarthy has two more years on his deal after winning just 5 games in 2015 and 2016. He could still finish out the last two years of the deal in a strong fashion or he could flop. We have two more years to find out.
Kazmir won 10 games but was injured all year and I believe his career is in jeopardy. Again, it was a risk, but it was $48 million, not $130 million or $217 million. Giving $100 to $200 million contracts to aging players (especially pitchers) is a dope-fiend move. Rich Hill is a very good pitcher – one of the best in baseball when healthy. Risk-Reward! Again, it’s only $48 million. Maeda’s deal paid off last year, but if his arm falls off this year, next year or the year after, the exposure is limited.
Ask the Red Sox if they are glad they signed David Price. The D-Backs already regret the Greinke signing. The Giants are enamoured with Cueto, but check back in a year. That one will end badly too. Ask the Nats if they would still sign Strasburg again for $175 million? Jake Arrietta will be 32 next year and a free agent, predictably some GM will give him a $200 million deal and later regret it. While I am at it, Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka will be free agents after this season – one is 31 and the other 29, and both have injury histories.
It seems to me that in modern-day baseball there are two type of pitchers: those who are injured and those who will be. FAZ hedged their bets, limited their exposure and spread out the risk… and it was and is a risk, but I would rather risk $195 million on all the above-named pitchers than $207 million on just one Zack Greinke. Those deals are dope-fiend moves. The Dodgers have seven (count ’em, 7) pitchers listed as starters that are potential injury-risks:
- Clayton Kershaw – due to his back issues last year he is a risk but he looks unhittable this year (actually, he is unhittable)
- Hyun-Jin Ryu – has missed two years but is battling back
- Scott Kazmir – his hip could end his career
- Brandon McCarthy – after missing much of the past two years, he is trying to return
- Kenta Maeda – allegedly his arm is hanging by a thread (yes, I jest), but so far, so good
- Alex Wood – herky, jerky delivery and past elbow problem gives rise to concern
- Rich Hill – the poster boy for the NBA (National Blister Association) has been seen with his fingers in the pickle jar
Now, not all will be hurt at the same time, at least statistical analysis and probability says that, and then there are Stripling, Stewart and Urias as well as Oaks and about 4 other minor leaguers. You never know what might happen… who will be hurt, but I would like to think that the Dodgers used up most of their DL trips last year.
The Dodger Front Office under Andrew Friedman have not given any starting pitcher anything more than a $48 million deal. “Well, they offered Zack Greinke $156 million over 5 years” you might say. If you think that, you might want to consider this:
The Dodgers front office dealt with Zack Greinke and his agent for three years. I am sure they had a good relationship with him and his agent and probably knew better than anyone what he would or would not accept. Of course, they were in on Greinke, but I suspect that (due to their intimate knowledge of the situation) they knew their offer would be beat. You can think they would have signed him to a big deal, but the fact remains, they have never signed a starter to any deal bigger than $48 million.
I think it should change with Clayton Kershaw – he’s the only aging pitcher I would sign – he needs to be a lifetime Dodger. I am confident FAZ will do that. It’s reasonable and they have the cash. It will get done.
Last Night’s Game Notes
- 12-2, but it’s Spring Training – the score doesn’t mean much, but good things happened. That’s what I like.
- Brandon McCarthy pitched 3 exceptionally strong innings. He looked like he wants to be a #2. 3 IP/3K / 1H /0BB. Not a sign of the YIPS. They were not posting speeds, but he looked to me to be in the 92+ MPH range. That’s just a guess…
- I still say this is Grandal’s breakout year!
- Logan Forsythe looks to be a beast at the top of the lineup. His bat speed is impressive. Puig’s too.
- Speaking of Puig, he looks “Under Control.” He looks like a guy whose hard work is paying off. He hit those two HR like nothing.
- Soooooo, it turns out that Corey Seager’s back problem is really an “oblique.” – That probably ain’t good!
- Darnell Sweeney is quietly having a good Spring.
- Franklin Gutierrez IS a lefty killer. He does not have to make the team. He IS already on it!
- Yasiel Puig might have finally figured it out and if he has, every other MLB team had better be afraid…. VERY afraid!
- Brandon Morrow opened some eyes when he struck out the side!
- Kid Urias is ready and looks like a vet!
- Ravin? I could rant about him!
- Ryu pitches today. This should be interesting.