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Zack Greinke officially opts out of contract, now a free agent

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Darin Wallentine/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke has officially opted out of his contract, as expected, and is now a free agent.

Greinke had three years and $71 million remaining on his six-year, $147 million contract signed with the Dodgers in December 2012.

The opt-out clause came at a perfect time for Greinke, who had a season for the ages in 2015, going 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA in 32 starts, with 200 strikeouts and 40 walks in 222⅔ innings. He led the majors in both ERA and WHIP (0.844), setting a Dodgers franchise record with the latter.

Greinke is arguably the top free agent pitcher on the market, though he has competition and, entering his age-32 season in 2016, is two baseball years older than the other aces in direct competition — David Price, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann.

The top free agent prize on last year's free agent market was Max Scherzer, who got a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals, though entering his age-30 season in 2015. Jon Lester, entering his age-31 season last year, got six years, $155 million from the Cubs, setting up an upper and lower range of sorts for a potential new Greinke contract.

The Dodgers can make Greinke a qualifying offer by Friday at 2 p.m. PT, a one-year, $15.8 million contract offer that, if Greinke declines and later signs elsewhere would net the Dodgers a compensatory 2016 draft pick between the first and second rounds.

Greinke in three years with the Dodgers was 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA in 92 starts, with 555 strikeouts and 129 walks in 602⅔ innings.