When Zack Greinke signed a six-year, $147 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 it was the largest contract a right-handed pitcher had ever received.
Not only was Greinke coming off a 15-win season, the Dodgers managed to pry him away from the Los Angeles Angels. The deal cemented Greinke’s place along Clayton Kershaw, who later signed his own large contract — seven years, $215 million.
However, both contracts include opt-outs, with Greinke having the option to do so after the 2015 season. With that in mind, the Dodger right-hander will be watching what transpires on the free agent market for Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
What happens with Lester and Scherzer will say a lot,” Greinke said at Monday’s All-Star festivities.
Greinke also added teams are handing out more lucrative contracts based on expectations, not what’s already been accomplished:
“They’re paying more for future performance.”
The right-hander then pointed to the the players’ ability to cash in due to the owners’ financial wellbeing:
There’s a lot of money in the game,” Greinke said. “You don’t know how much money is actually in the game, or how much money the owners are making. Obviously, they’re making a lot. Salaries are going up.”
Should Greinke make the decision to opt out of his deal, he would leave three years and $77 million on the table, but be a free agent at the age of 31 and not 35, when his contract would expire.
Greinke hitting the free agent market wouldn’t necessarily mark the end of his career with the Dodgers. Assuming good health through the 2015 season, the Dodgers may be inclined to keep the Kershaw-Greinke pairing atop their starting rotation.
At least for the next three seasons as Kershaw would be able to opt out of his deal following the 2018 season when he’ll be 30 years old.
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