Well, needless to say the Arizona Diamondbacks just broke the preconceived notion that an unforeseen solicitant doesn’t have the ability to plunge into the free agent market and suddenly possess a $30 million a year pitcher. The formerly unencumbered two-time Cy-Young candidate, Zack Greinke, has signed a $206.5 million contract to stay in DBack burgundy until he’s 38 years old, baring a transaction or major injury. The six-year pact has the most elephantine average annual value in MLB history at $34.4 million, right in front of Miguel Cabrera, who will have an AAV of $31 million from 2016-23.
The new Diamondback bellwether joins an undistinguished starting rotation that had a pedestrian 69 quality starts last season, horrific enough for 25th the league. They also allowed the 12th most runs in the MLB with 713 and had the MLB’s 20th batting average against at .258. The team finished with 79 wins on the campaign despite their sub-par rotation and due to their ascendancy in every other aspect of the game.
Regardless of their pitching insufficiencies, Arizona was one of the best offensive teams in baseball, ranking eighth in Runs, On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage along with the seventh ranking in Batting Average. The team was also one of the most dominant defensively, with the ninth least errors in baseball, they also lead the league in defensive runs saved and had three players in the top 15 in that category, Nick Ahmed (sixth), Paul Goldschmidt (11th) and A.J. Pollock (15th).
Zack Greinke, who had a career season in ERA, WHIP and ERA+, was the ultimate procurement of the free agent class and, according to most, of the NL West. Despite the utter heartbreak the LA Dodgers must’ve felt to lose Greinke to their NL West rival, at least they didn’t feel the perfidiousness of losing him to their bitter rival, the San Fransisco Giants, who were also in the running for his services. The former Dodger, Royal, Angel and Brewer now spearheads the young Diamondbacks rotation that, up to Greinke’s acquisition, had Patrick Corbin as their ace.
The David Price signing obviously worked in Greinke’s favour as the three-time all-star posted significantly superior statistics to the lefty which made Price’s contract a base for negations that the Diamondbacks, seemingly, just recently commenced.
The one subsequent concern that can validly be posed is will they have enough cap to re-sign Paul Goldschmidt when he comes off the books in 2020. The first baseman will only make $5.75 million this upcoming season but by 2019 he’ll be making $14.5 million and, should he keep his production elevated, will be in line for a raise. Along with the progression of, amongst others, A.J. Pollock and Archie Bradley the D-Backs will be in a cap crunch come 2020. Currently Goldschmidt is the fourth highest paid player on his team behind the aforementioned Greinke, Aaron Hill ($12 million) and Yasmani Thomas ($7.5 million).
The Zack Greinke acquisition has propelled the Arizona Diamondbacks into NL West title contention and into the consciousness of the average baseball fan. This relevancy-enhancing transaction, that was the largest in franchise history, has made the D-Backs a legitimate contender.