Zack Greinke is having his best year as a Diamondback and its creating a dilemma.
While the front office tries to figure out whether a team one game above .500 but only 1.5 games out of the Wild Card race should be a buyer or a seller at the end of the month, Zack Greinke may be making their decision about him easier.
He’s pitching so well, he might be pitching his way back into the Dbacks long term plans
It felt like the minute Greinke signed his massive contract with the team (he has the second highest AAV in salary in baseball next to the recently re-signed Mike Trout), the countdown was on until the Dbacks were forced to trade their exorbitantly priced ace.
With his Cy Young-caliber performance this year, it seemed like the Dbacks had found themselves in the perfect position to deal the 35 year old who and free themselves from the $70 million still owed over the final two years of his contract.
The Dbacks could not only trade Greinke and eat a minimum amount of salary but based on his performance, they may be able to even get a solid prospect or two in return. After all, $70 million is basically the equivalent of a car payment for half the league.
But after Greinke’s most recent stretch, 14 IP with 0 ER, 15 strikeouts and 0 walks, he may be more valuable to the Diamondbacks over the last two seasons than anything they could get in return.
Yes Greinke limits the financial flexibility of the team, something that team president and CEO Derrick Hall has publicly acknowledged but even for a re-tooling Diamondbacks roster, his value as a bona fide ace is very high.
And with a young core emerging around Greinke, the team may not need the means to make a splashy free agent signing.
Most expected Greinke to age well as a pitcher but actually seeing him pitch as one of the best pitchers in the league at age 35 with a fastball clocking in below 90 mph, the Dbacks front office and fans can feel pretty confident that Greinke’s final years won’t look like a Russ Ortiz or Eric Byrnes contract on steroids.
Most importantly, he provides structure to a promising rotation. Having Greinke anchored in as an ace allows Merrill Kelly, Luke Weaver, Taijuan Walker, Jon Duplantier, Taylor Clarke, Alex Young and any other rotation hopeful in 2020/21 to assume a more natural spot in the rotation with Greinke on board.
Robbie Ray is almost certainly going to be traded this month or this offseason and for awhile it felt like it would take a minor miracle for the team to be able to do the same with Greinke, but after his best half in a Diamondbacks uniform in his 4 seasons, Dbacks fans may finally be able to get comfortable seeing Zack Greinke in a Dbacks uniform.