Aside from the impact Zack Greinke has on the mound, the aspect of personnel moves in sports that often goes unnoticed is the effect it can have on team chemistry.
Greinke, with his no BS, call-it-like-he-sees-it attitude was very popular in the Dodgers’ clubhouse by all accounts.
When you listen to Justin Turner talk about his departure (via MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick), a new perspective comes into view.
“Obviously, not only [will I miss] his pitching, but he was one of my favorite teammates to sit and talk to on the bench on days he wasn’t pitching,” said Turner. “Unfortunately, he ended up going somewhere else. At the same time, it’s part of the game and he’s only one player.”
Stories about Greinke in his own free agency tour were about his filling in the teams that lined up to give him hundreds of millions of dollars about prospects they hadn’t even considered mentioning in their meetings. His knowledge about the game and all its intricacies is incredible. Picking his brain in the dugout would be an absolute joy, even if it would probably mean catching some collateral damage about your own shortcomings.
Greinke will obviously be a loss on and off the field, Turner did continue on the matter, though.
We’ve seen the last few years that it doesn’t matter how great one guy is, it takes a collective 25 guys to win in the playoffs. Hopefully we can add a lot more balance to our team and be able to sustain a nice long run in the playoffs.
“The best thing about baseball, it doesn’t matter what you have on paper, you look at all super teams put together and they’ve never really panned out. It’s about finding the right group of guys that complement each other with the right chemistry and have everyone pulling on the same end of rope.
It’s hard to argue, and the quote in its entirety pretty much sums up how Turner and, by extension, the Dodgers can and should handle moving on from Greinke. He was great. He’ll continue to be great. But his loss doesn’t doom the Dodgers to mediocrity so long as they don’t let it.