The Los Angeles Dodgers figure to have an offseason filled with question marks regarding who will be on the roster next season. After a disappointing ending to their 2015 campaign, the National League West winners have many difficult decisions to make as to who to retain and who to let go.
No potential free agent has more value to the club than pitcher Zack Greinke. The former American League Cy Young winner is expected to opt out of the remaining three years and $71 million left on his contract.
Greinke had another terrific season in which he led the majors in ERA (1.66) and WHIP (0.84). Additionally, along with Clayton Kershaw, Greinke gave the Dodgers arguably the best one-two combo in baseball.
According to Lyle Spencer of MLB.com, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez says he wants to see Greinke return back to Los Angeles:
We’d love to keep him,” Gonzalez said in the quiet of the clubhouse late Thursday night. “He’s a big part of this team. He’s been incredible the whole time he’s been here. We love him. We hope he opts to stay.”
After yet another early postseason exit for the NL West champions, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to what the Dodgers will offer Grienke. It didn’t hurt his 2015 season was a dominating one, which figures to boost Greinke’s value in some sense.
Greinke was the most consistent pitcher throughout the season. He was considered the front-runner for the NL Cy Young until Chiacgo Cubs starter Jake Arrieta had a strong second-half that likely put him ahead of Greinke.
In two postseason games this year, Greinke tossed a combined 13 innings, allowing five runs while striking out 17. Had the Dodgers provided more run support their playoff outcome for the team could have been different.
Like Gonzalez, A.J. Ellis expressed he’d like to see Greinke return to the Dodgers. While the front office might be reluctant to give a lengthy contract to a soon-to-be 32-year-old pitcher, one thing that is certain is Greinke’s dominance may prove difficult to replace should he opt out and sign elsewhere.