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Dodgers: Making Zack Greinke Make Sense for LA in 2022



The MLB lockout has provided teams with a rare opportunity to hit pause and really sit back to identify needs for the roster. For the Dodgers, the clearest need for 2022 is starting pitching. With Clayton Kershaw a free agent, Max Scherzer already a New York Met, and no telling what will end up happening with Trevor Bauer, the LA rotation is feeling a bit stretched thin. Much like it was for most of last season.

As we get closer to the new year and the new season, we continue the search for rotation options via free agency and by trade. Back out on the frozen free agent market, an old friend seemingly could make sense for the Dodgers next year.

Zack Greinke played his last game with LA back in 2015. His three seasons in Dodger blue were by far the most dominant stretch of his career. In 92 starts, the right-hander went 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA over 602.2 innings pitched. After the 2015 season, he opted out of the final three years and $71 million of his deal to sign a massive contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This move, understandably, left a bad taste in the mouths of Dodger fans that, for some, still lingers today. But, when you put feelings aside, Greinke back in LA could make a lot of sense for both sides.

Should the Dodgers Sign Zack Greinke?

The free agent hurler recently turned 38 and is coming off a fine-not-great season with the Houston Astros where he went 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA. That, however, doesn’t tell the full story. Greinke served up 20 earned runs over his last 4 starts (15.1 IP), ballooning his ERA from 3.41 to 4.16. He also battled through a bout with covid and neck issues.

While signing a 38-year-old pitcher will hardly excite fans, on paper the move fills a need the Dodgers have. With a rotation led by Walker Buehler and Julio Urias — both of which were overworked in 2021 — LA has front-line options to start postseason games. As it stands, some mix of David Price, Tony Gonsolin, Andrew Heaney, and Mitch White/Andre Jackson would take up the other three spots in the rotation.

Solid options but hardly fear inducing.

Greinke wouldn’t necessarily induce fear into the hearts of other teams. But he does add a veteran presence to the starting rotation that can still pitch at an above average clip while taking down some key innings over the long, 162 game season. And he’ll come at a much cheaper price than the other 38-year-old former Cy Young award winner that signed with the Mets this winter.

Over his 18 year career at the big league level, Zack Greinke owns a 3.41 ERA over 3,000+ innings. His 219 career wins are second-most among active pitchers and he’s shown over the last few years that he still has something left in the tank (3.57 ERA since 2019).

By all accounts, he’s not done pitching, even if he was on the fence after the Astros lost to the Braves in 6 games back in October.

A Greinke return to the Dodgers would be fun and functional. He would no doubt be an asset to a younger core of starting pitchers and he’ll provide a fair share of laughs with his interesting quirks. Potentially reuniting with Clayton Kershaw, if Kersh does decide to come back to LA, would also be a great sight for fans.

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors predicted a one-year, $15 million deal for Greinke earlier this offseason.

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Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

Comments

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  1. $15M on yesterday’s news is too much. I’d rather see the kids (Miller, Pepiot, and Jackson) make tomorrow’s news today.

    • Bum4…totally agree…just no sense in over-paying for essentially worthless starters….$$ better spent making sure the PEN does a 2021 repeat!

    • We could throw those three pitchers into the MLB mix in the first half of the season to get a look at them and eat some innings but the reality is they are probably not ready just yet…second half most likely and not especially a good strategy to think of them as post-season serviceable. But one never knows where the next wonder-kind is going to come from! I love our prospects, especially the pitchers, and don’t understand people dissing our farm system. We’ve always been a pitching oriented team with some of the best player development in the game.

  2. None of their top pitching prsopects have any time at AAA. Rushing them doesn’t make sense. Greinke is an excellent solution to fill the gap. A winner you’d feel comfortsble starting in the post season.

    • I agree, give him $10 mill with incentives. What we need is a bridge to our not quite ready for prime time pitchers and Zack would be perfect.
      But everyone needs to remember that any free agent we sign means we have to trade or release one of our players who is already on the 40 man roster. If we want Kershaw and Greinke we need to make a trade first. And we all need to remeber,writer’s included, that although teams can not talk to players or their agents, they can talk to each other and lay out the groundwork for a trade after there is a new agreement.

  3. I thought Dodger fans and writers hate any Astro on the team that cheated. Did Grienke acknowledge that cheating happened or did he deny it like the others? I don’t care one way or another, but I’d go $10 million for one year at most, with an expectation that he’ll be on IL a couple of times.

    • Taryn, Happy Holidays….I wouldn’t spend more than $5m on a starter anymore…geez they only go 3 innings now anyway!

      • Happy Holidays!
        Yes, and perhaps starting pitchers need to be looked at like top relievers and base a large part of their salary on incentives, innings pitched, starts.

  4. I actually had him on my radar with Rich Hill and Alex Wood. But agree 15 million way too much. 7-8 million with some incentives like $500,000 for each quality start.

  5. Greinke
    -Was a D-Back in 2017
    – – Was traded from Arizona to Houston, so playing for the Astros was not a choice for him.

  6. If we had a team that could win a real championship I’d say bring him on board and give him his ring finally but his odds are higher elsewhere and I don’t mean Vegas odds, I mean real life odds

  7. I’d rather focus on signing Carlos Rodon and trading for a starter like Shane Bieber and or Kyle Hendricks.

    • I’ve always liked Zach Grienke, especially his stint as a Brewer. All 1 1/2 yrs of it. Cheap ass team! But Zach has always been a great pitcher, he can hit, and has a great K to BB Ratio. He’s a top 3 guy anywhere.

  8. Greinke is too old. Let him finish with the Angels. We have to go young and with promise.
    Buy out Bauer now before he throws himself on the mercy of the fans, admitting wrong doing and committing to therapy. Good for him but let someone else fly his kite.

  9. A one year deal for Grienke wouldn’t be a bad idea. May will be back to full speed in 2023. White and Jackson can only do a small sample of innings in 2022. Bauer will probably never pitch another inning for the Dodgers, since he has already been convicted and is serving his sentence, without a trial or even an arrest, thanks to Manfred.

  10. Sure would be a Great fit. So that means coming from the FO and DR, its a NO-GO. Whatever common sense says, just think the opposite and you will see FO and DR front row, center. Besides as long as Kershaw is top pitcher, Grienke would not like to play second fiddle (again).

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