While fans of the San Francisco Giants may have some long-term concerns over the possibility of signing Zack Greinke to a deal that will likely take him through his age-38 season, the team’s pursuit of the Cy Young runner-up is a brilliant move in every possible way. Greinke, coming off a season in which he posted a 1.66 ERA and went 19-3 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is likely seeking what Kion Kashefi believes will be a six-year deal worth in excess of $30 million per season.
With Greinke’s age and San Francisco’s recent misfortune regarding lucrative and long-term deals to pitchers on the wrong side of 30, why exactly are the Giants wise to pursue the best remaining free agent on the market this winter?
One look at the rotation in Los Angeles should provide a clue regarding the brilliance of this strategy. The Dodgers, the reigning NL West champs, feature an expensive but imperfect roster that proved to be wildly inconsistent on offense and relied on a rotation that was devastatingly injury-prone. The club’s saving grace in 2015 was the strength of the 1-2 punch of Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, which is why it makes sense for the Giants to pair Greinke with a dominant lefty of their own in Madison Bumgarner. The fact that the San Francisco rotation will become stronger while simultaneously weakening the Los Angeles rotation only makes the move all the more shrewd.
Of course, Greinke will need to perform like an ace if he is going to live up to the lucrative contract he is reportedly seeking, but the right-hander has only gotten better with age and has always been more reliant on control than on velocity, with many believing he will be able to perform like Greg Maddux did through his mid-to-late 30s.