Let’s Not Forget How Good Zack Greinke Is

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All the attention was on Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday and rightfully so. The brilliant ace left-hander won his third Cy Young Award and cemented his place as one of the greatest Dodger pitchers of our generation. While Kershaw is simply amazing, and he should be also honored with the N.L. M.V.P. Award on Thursday, another Dodger pitcher with a certain quirkiness was also great for the Dodgers in 2014.

Zack Greinke finished in seventh place in the N.L. Cy Young Award voting, and the Baseball Writers Association of America gave Greinke his highest finish in the

Zack Greinke does everything well. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

voting since he won the A.L.  Cy Young Award in 2009 with the Kansas City Royals. Greinke received two fourth-place votes and two fifth-place votes.

I placed Zack Greinke fifth on my IBWAA ballot.

With all eyes on the new Dodger GM Farhan Zaidi, we tend to forget that Ned Colletti’s free agent signing of Zack Greinke in 2013 was a huge bolster to the Dodger rotation over the past two seasons giving the Dodgers arguably the two best top of the rotation starters in all of baseball.

Zack went 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA over 32 starts and 202 1/3 innings pitched for the Dodgers in 2014. Greinke struck out 207 batters which was the most for the right-hander since his Cy Young Award season in 2009 when he struck out a career-high 242. Greinke only walked 43 batters giving him a career-best 4.81 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Greinke, an All-Star in 2014, also picked up his first career Gold Glove Award for his defensive excellence amongst N.L. pitchers. Greinke’s athleticism gives the Dodgers an extra edge in the infield which was especially helpful with the weak middle infield defense of Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon. Greinke only committed one error all season.

The all-around great athlete gave the Dodgers a gutsy postseason performance in the second game of the NLDS against the Cardinals. The 3-2 win over the Red Birds would be the only postseason Dodger win of 2014. Greinke pitched 7 shutout innings, and only allowed 2 hits while striking out 7. Luckily Matt Kemp‘s epic eighth inning homerun eclipsed J.P. Howell‘s blown save in the top of the eighth after he replaced Greinke in relief. Greinke not only pitched brilliantly in the playoff game, but his third inning single and heads up base running ultimately gave the Dodgers a precious run.

Greinke started the 2014  season off going 5-0  for the first time since 2009, and he helped the Dodgers win their 10,000th franchise win on April 30th versus the Minnesota Twins. Even though it was cold and rainy in Minnesota, Greinke continued his red hot streak which happened to be historic as well. It was Greinke’s 18th consecutive regular-season start of five or more innings allowing two runs or fewer, the most since 1914. Greinke only allowed 1 run over 6 innings while striking out 6 in the 6-4 victory.

Greinke is also a great hitting pitcher, and his two-run homerun in September off Mike Kickham was number 6 on our Top Ten Dodger Homeruns of 2014.

Overall, Greinke had another fantastic season for the Dodgers in 2014. Even though Clayton Kershaw is getting all the attention, Greinke still deserves a nod. Kershaw and Greinke are the perfect Ying Yang combination of left-handed and right-handed pitching, and the their 1-2 punch at the top of the Dodger rotation propelled the Boys in Blue into the playoffs the past two seasons.

Greinke is signed through 2018 on a 6-year $159 million deal, but he may opt out of his contract after next season. Losing Greinke would be a huge blow to the Dodgers’ rotation, so I feel as though management should do everything they can to retain Greinke for the remainder of his contract. Greinke will earn $25 million in 2015.

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