To say that the cupboard is sparse for elite free agent pitching this offseason would be an understatement.
That’s good news for Zack Greinke, who could turn his resume into a record contract thanks to the weak market, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.
Baseball executives expect Greinke to be able to get a deal worth $25 million a year for up to six years, or $150 million overall, according to Heyman. The right-handed Greinke, who had several untouchable seasons in Kansas City and also won the 2009 American League Cy Young award, is head and shoulders above the rest of this year’s free agent pitching class.
The Angels, with whom Greinke pitched for part of last season, and the newly endowed Dodgers are considered the frontrunners to lock Greinke up. The Angels have shown signs that they want to reshape a rotation that also includes Jered Weaver around Greinke. The club traded Ervin Santana and didn’t try to bring back Dan Haren, two major pieces of last year’s pitching staff.
While demand from two of Major League Baseball’s more financially set clubs will help drive up the bidding on Greinke, he’ll also benefit from the hefty deals handed out to other pitchers recently, Heyman reports.
Giants right-hander Matt Cain signed for $112.5 million and five years in an extension that locked him up for six years and $127.5 million overall. Other definitive aces, like Cole Hamels ($24 million a year) and CC Sabathia ($22 million average), are also bringing in salaries well over the $20 million mark.
Greinke pitched well for the Angels down the stretch last year after being acquired by the team from the Brewers midseason. He was 15-5 overall last year with a 3.48 ERA and 200 strikeouts, his fifth straight season of 10 or more wins.