3 years/$104.5million. That’s how much money is left on Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke’s contract. Greinke is set to earn $34.5MM in the upcoming 2019 season, followed by salaries of $35MM in both 2020 and 2021. Most, if not all, teams would steer clear of acquiring a contract with that much money still left to be paid to a pitcher in his mid 30s. However, could it actually be realistic that the D-Backs can still trade the still strong performing Zack Greinke? It could be.
Despite the fact that he’s 35, he is still putting up very strong numbers atop of the Arizona starting rotation, including this season in which the right-hander posted a 15-11 record, a 3.21 ERA, and 4.8 WAR in 207.1 innings. Even his 3.70 FIP suggests he is a quality starter still. Despite those numbers, once again that massive contract still hampers his trade value big time. The Diamondbacks want to trim payroll and getting Greinke’s contract, or more realistically, at least some of his contract off the books would be a huge help for the Arizona front office. So who would still trade for Greinke despite the age factor and massive contract? Let’s take a look:
The Astros are set to lose both Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton in free agency this offseason, which leaves three holes to fill in the starting rotation. Collin McHugh will fill one of those holes as he has already been said to be moving back to a starting role next year. Another could be filled by top prospect Forrest Whitley as he makes his way to the majors for the first time. Which still leaves another spot that would still need to be filled. Brad Peacock, Josh James, and Cionel Perez are among the in-house options to fill that spot, plus there’s also a very real chance that the Astros just simply re-sign Morton to fill one of their rotation spots. However, acquiring Zack Greinke would easily slot another sure fire top-of-the-rotation starter into what’s already a big one-two punch in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Plus, acquiring Greinke won’t cost too much in the way of prospects(not that Houston is lacking in any way) as long as Houston eats a portion of that huge contract, which they can afford, especially since they have more money coming off the books after the 2019 season. They will want to use that money to extend players like Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman however.
-New York Yankees:
This is a fit for multiple reasons; they can acquire Greinke and perhaps even fill that first base need by having Arizona package Paul Goldschmidt into a deal. That would take a lot for the Arizona front office to think about but if they’re really hellbent on getting Greinke’s contract off their books, it’s one way that it will work. The Yankees also still have a solid farm system from which to trade from so pulling off a deal like this is more realistic that you may think.
–Chicago White Sox:
Sox GM Rick Hahn has made it no secret that he is ready for his team to make another step forward closer to contention and the team wants to add a top flight arm to its young and talented pitching staff. Chicago has the open payroll to take on at least some of Greinke’s contract but if they’re so sure that they can compete as soon as next year or the 2020 season, Greinke would be a solid option. His age mixed with the fact that Chicago still doesn’t look like a playoff contending team yet however, may not work well.
They want to add an impact starter to the mix this offseason, but it’s all about how far they’d be willing to go money wise to make a deal happen, whether it’s through free agency or through a trade for someone like Greinke.
Bryce Harper sweepstakes aside, the Nats could really use another starter behind Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, plus if they miss out on bringing back Harper, they can use some of that money to negotiate with the Diamondbacks about how much of Greinke’s contract they’d be willing to pay.
Other fits could include the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers(one of Greinke’s former teams), and San Diego Padres.
However it pans out, Greinke’s continued dominance has made it a realistic chance that the D-Backs could deal him and at least some of his contract, and if they want to do it, they better do it this offseason while Greinke is still putting up strong numbers.