The starting pitching market is moving fast and furious, with Zack Greinke leaving the Dodgers for a division rival, but not the Giants, as had been expected. Greinke has agreed to terms with the Diamondbacks, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and confirmed by several others including Jerry Crasnick of ESPN and Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.
The terms of Greike's deal aren't yet known — it is reportedly $206.5 million over six years, including deferred money pper Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic — but it comes three days after David Price signed with the Red Sox for seven years and $217 million, an average of $31 million per year. Greinke's deal is for six years, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, a length at which the Dodgers apparently balked.
I'm told Dodgers never got comfortable with guaranteed 6th year to Greinke.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) December 5, 2015
On Tuesday, as ownership partner Magic Johnson called bringing back Greinke the club's top priority this offseason, the front office department was expressing caution over such a commitment.
"The free agent market when you look back over time hasn't necessarily resulted in helping teams win in October. There's just not that high of a correlation between them," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Tuesday. "On one hand by making a big splash you might win the winter headlines, but more often than not you aren't having a parade at the end of October.
"It's less about how much of an investment as it is looking at each individual player and how they help you win games and fit in to a payroll landscape."
The contract makes Greinke's decision to opt out of three years and $71 million remaining on his original contract with the Dodgers quite wise. The timing was perfect for the right-hander, who was 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA in 2015, with 200 strikeouts and 40 walks in 222⅔ innings.
Greinke finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting to Cubs ace Jake Arrieta.
The Red Sox were also interested in Greinke before signing Price, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today reporting that Greinke asked for a decision from Boston by Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, at the press conference introducing new manager Dave Roberts and before Price signed with Boston, the Dodgers' baseball operations department did not seem to share that sense of urgency, at least not outwardly.
"We have enough alternatives in free agency and the trade market, that there's no time pressure on our part to land a starting pitcher," general manager Farhan Zaidi said on Tuesday.
The Dodgers will still likely be in play for at least one free agent pitcher, just likely not one in the deep end of the pool.
"Adding one starter is something that's critically important, but adding two would depend on other factors," Friedman said on Tuesday.
By signing Greinke, the Diamondbacks will forfeit their first-round pick in the 2016 draft, No. 13 overall, while the Dodgers will get a compensatory pick in between the first and second rounds.