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Zack Greinke open to contract extension, won't talk opt-out decision

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Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, entering the third year of his six-year, $147 million contract, said on Thursday he was open to signing a contract extension with the team. But he declined to discuss whether he would exercise his opt-out clause until the end of the season.

Greinke will make $23 million in 2015, and can become a free agent after the season if he so chooses. Doing so would forfeit three years and $71 million, an average annual value that has since been passed in contracts signed by Clayton Kershaw, Masahiro Tanaka, Jon Lester and Max Scherzer.

"I'm sure [the Dodgers are] open to me taking a cheap deal also," Greinke said. "It's just a matter of seeing what is working."

If Greinke does opt out, he likely won't be alone in the elite pitching market next offseason. David Price, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann are scheduled to be free agents as well and entering their age-30 season in 2016, two years younger than Greinke.

Greinke is 32-12 with a 2.68 ERA, a 132 ERA+, in his two years with the Dodgers, averaging 178 strikeouts, 190 innings and 30 starts per year so far.

While Greinke wouldn't discuss his plan of whether to exercise his opt-out clause — he reasoned that teams have options on players all the time and rarely if ever discuss their plans whether to exercise them ahead of time — he did talk about the reasoning for including the clause in his contract in the first place.

He said he likes having control, something he found out shortly after he signed a four-year, $38 million extension with the Royals in January 2009 that bought out his final two arbitration years plus two potential free agent seasons.

"If some things are going good, you can use [the opt-out clause] for more power for you, and there is no negative to it," Greinke reasoned. "Right after I signed my contract with Kansas City, I kind of wished I didn't right after I signed it, my initial plan was to not let that happen again, to do everything possible to keep my options open."

Greinke said that he likes playing in Los Angeles, but that he also liked playing for the Brewers and for the Angels, and even for the Royals for a while. Whatever decision he makes, Greinke will be all business.

"You can't really trust a front office, what they tell you. Guys in the past have signed long deals, then get traded the next year. I think it happened this offseason, someone was told he wasn't going to be traded, then he was traded. It happens all the time," Greinke said. "The team is going to do what's best for them if they can. You can't really fault them for that. Just like you're going to do what's best for you, their job is to do what's best for the team."

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman wouldn't say whether the Dodgers would engage in any contract talks with Greinke prior to opting out.

"We don't talk about contract negotiations publicly. It's something we feel like is a personal decision between club and player," Friedman explained. "We feel like there is a lot more down side in giving a blow-by-blow account. Obviously Zack has that negotiated part of his deal. He'll take his time assessing the pros and cons of that decision, and knowing him he'll do it very thoroughly. We'll just react to things as they come up."