The Dodgers Should Extend Zack Greinke Now


Jumping off from my post yesterday about the Dodgers pitching depth and the Nationals signing Max Scherzer, I think the Dodgers should really look into locking Zack Greinke up now before he can opt out of his contract.

After Scherzer garnered a $210 million deal with Washington this past weekend plus teammate Clayton Kershaw‘s record deal, I don’t see Zack Greinke sitting back and not testing the free agent market after this season by opting out of his contract with the Dodgers. Greinke, one of the best right-handers in the game, could easily pick up a richer contract than he already has with the Dodgers given the recent trend toward big paydays for elite starters.

I mentioned yesterday that the Dodgers still have some questions in the backend of their rotation even after picking up both Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson this offseason. The pair of pitchers both have injury histories, and it is unclear whether they will remain 100% healthy throughout 2015 let alone in the future. If the new front office regime is looking to build a Dodger dynasty with long term viability as the cornerstone, than locking up Zack Greinke to a long-term deal without the possibility of him walking away every couple of years seems like it is a worthwhile investment.

A Los Angeles World Championship cannot be accomplished with just Clayton Kershaw. We have seen in the past two years that Kershaw, while amazing, shouldn’t be overused especially in the postseason. Greinke is the perfect right-handed ying to Kershaw’s yang, and the Dodgers should do what they can to retain Greinke for years to come. The Dodgers already missed out on Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, and they simply cannot afford to let Greinke walk after 2015.

Even though Greinke is technically signed through 2018 on a 6-year $147 million  contract, he has a sneaky opt out clause which he can utilize after the 2015 season in order to seek a bigger contract either with a new team or with the Dodgers.

Last summer, Greinke talked about the situation with the Los Angeles Times.

"“What happens with Lester and Scherzer will say a lot,” Greinke said."

Walking away from the remaining $71 million on his contract seems like a crazy move to make, but it’s not like Greinke cannot get more on the open market if he did walk. The 2014 All-Star and Gold Glove Award winning pitcher had one of his best seasons ever last year with the Dodgers. His 17 wins were the most he’s notched in his career, and his 207 strikeouts were the most he’s tallied since he struck out a career high 242 back in 2009 which was arguably his best season then with the Royals.

Zack Greinke is really, really good. Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Greinke pitched 202 1/3 innings even though he did battle through some elbow stiffness. Greinke can surely ask for more and get it, and the Dodgers should give it to him now. The Dodgers haven’t spent much this offseason, and they can easily afford to lock up Greinke now and still pick up another frontline starter next winter.

Unless the Dodgers want to let Greinke walk and spend just as much money if not more on Johnny Cueto, David Price, Doug Fister or Jordan Zimmermann next winter. I’d say sign Greinke AND David Price, but hey it’s not my decision.

If Greinke’s elbow flares up again, he would probably not opt-out and stay with the Dodgers. Andrew Friedman, who had last said he wouldn’t discuss a deal with Greinke this winter, may be rolling the dice by letting the season unfold first before trying to retain Greinke.

Right now, Greinke is a Dodger through at least this upcoming season. I’d like him to stick around longer, because that lefty-righty combo of Kershaw-Greinke is perfection.