The Dodgers are in the market for a number two starter, they are also looking for a shorter term contract and stay under the salary cap for this season. A trade for Zack Greinke can check all of those boxes.
Zack Greinke was an elite pitcher during his tenure with the Dodgers. He and Kershaw created the most dominant 1-2 pitching combo in the MLB during that span. They were both legitimate Cy Young candidates year in and year out.
Greinke has regressed since signing a lucrative contract to move to Arizona and join the division rival D-Backs. Despite this, Greinke might be the best course of action for the Dodgers. Here is why.
Like I first stated the Dodgers are in the market for a top end of the rotation pitcher. One that is preferably right-handed considering the heavy amount of lefties already set to be in the rotation. Zack Greinke has taken a step back but is still a top 10-15 pitcher in the MLB.
In 2017 Greinke had a 3.20 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP as he helped lead the Diamondbacks to a postseason appearance. Greinke is still a top tier pitcher and has all the makings of a pitcher who will age well. He is a pitcher who relies heavily on movement and location rather than just pure stuff. So his aging is not really a factor.
The second box that Greinke checks is a relatively short deal. He has 4 years remaining on his contract. While that may seem like a longer deal, it is not even close to what the Dodgers would have to dish out to a free agent pitcher like Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta.
Some reports have come out saying Darvish is searching for a deal in the range of 7 years. Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers front office have always been reluctant to hand out long-term deals. If Darvish wants a seven-year deal the Dodgers won’t be the ones giving him the deal. Meanwhile, the four years remaining on Greinke’s contract looks very good, compared to the going rate for free agent pitchers.
The final reason is staying under the salary cap. Here is how that can happen. The Dodgers only need to stay under for this season. This is in order to reset the tax penalty that has accumulated from the Dodgers consecutive seasons of being over the salary cap.
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As it stands the Dodgers are under the salary cap and have about 6-7 million dollars to play with. Acquiring Zack Greinke and his 35 million dollar cap hit would take some help. The easiest way to even out the deal would be to include Matt Kemp. He accounts for 21.5 million dollars against the cap and has 2 years left on his deal.
Matt Kemp could also be tempting for the D-Backs. They are more than likely not going to resign JD Martinez. He was a game changer for that lineup. He was a big reason for their great success during the latter half of the season. Matt Kemp is not on the same level as Martinez but he would bring something similar to the table.
The D-Backs have also been rumored to wanting to unload Greinke and his contract. So if that is the truth they could deal him to the Dodgers for Kemp and a few other pieces.
Like I said the Dodgers have 6-7 million to play with in order to remain under the cap. So Kemp for Greinke straight up still puts them over the cap. But that could be solved easily. The Dodgers could just have the D-Backs eat a portion of that contract just for this season because they only need to stay under this season.
The larger the chunk the D-Backs take from Greinke’s contract the better the prospect added with Kemp is. If they eat just enough to keep Los Angeles under the threshold, then the prospect would be a lower tier prospect. If the Diamondbacks eat at least half of one year of Kemp’s deal then they could earn themselves a better prospect. Someone like Yadier Alvarez who has tremendous upside despite his down 2017 outing.
This could be helpful for all parties involved. The Dodgers get the ace pitcher they’re looking for while remaining under the cap and dealing a player in Matt Kemp who just does not have a role with this team. The D-Backs get a right-handed bat and are able to get rid of the Greinke contract while adding some depth to their farm system.
Zack Greinke can be a better option than Darvish or Arrieta simply based on the longevity of the contract Darvish is looking for. Greinke is also very familiar with the organization as he spent 3 dominant years with the club. This acquisition does a lot for the Dodgers now and also puts them in a position to sign the big names coming into free agency in 2019. This just makes too much sense and should be a serious consideration.