- The Braves, who are seeking outfield help, contacted the Mariners about Mitch Haniger and the Diamondbacks regarding David Peralta, Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. However, Atlanta was turned away in both cases, per Burns. It’s unclear how far those discussions went, but with the Mariners in a full rebuild and the Diamondbacks seemingly going backward, it’s unsurprising the Braves showed interest in Haniger and Peralta. The soon-to-be 28-year-old Haniger is unquestionably among the most valuable outfielders in the game, considering both his on-field performance and four remaining years of team control – including another pre-arb season. As you’d expect, general manager Jerry Dipoto would need to be “blown away” to trade Haniger, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says (video link). Peralta, meanwhile, was similarly outstanding in 2018, but he’s neither as youthful (31) nor as controllable as Haniger. Peralta has a pair of arb-eligible years left, and is projected to earn an affordable $7.7MM in 2019.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, he of the career .297/.398/.532 line, was one of the most coveted assets on the offseason trade market. After a bitterly disappointing end to the Diamondbacks season, in which the club won just eight out of their final 28 games after staking a claim to top of the division on August 30th, a full-scale shuffling of parts was sure to be in order. The club was almost certainly set to lose ace Patrick Corbin, who this week signed a monster $140MM deal with Washington, plus center-field stalwart A.J. Pollock, who, despite several injury-marred campaigns, posted a robust 14.9 fWAR in his final five seasons with the team. And flimsy depth on the 25-man roster and in the upper minors paired with a system devoid of high-impact talent to offer a mostly inauspicious outlook in seasons to come.
Was it finally to time to cash in on the organization’s most valued trade chip? The answer, in the end, was a resounding “yes”: On Wednesday, the organization finally agreed to a package with the 31-year-old’s most oft-rumored suitor, the St. Louis Cardinals. 25-year-old right-hander Luke Weaver and catcher Carson Kelly, 24, are the two most notable pieces going back to Arizona in the deal; Andy Young, a 24-year-old minor league infielder, and a Competitive Balance Round B pick are also part of the return for the D’Backs.
Goldschmidt, of course, is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him just $14.5MM in 2019. His presence figures to move defensive yo-yo Matt Carpenter back to his original home at third base, where the 33-year-old has, encouragingly, graded out as mostly above average with the glove in limited time over the last two years after a series of dreadful campaigns in the middle portion of the decade.
Infielder Jedd Gyorko and 1B/COF Jose Martinez, then, would seem to be left bench-ridden, and could be prime trade chips in the weeks to come. Speculatively, major bullpen upgrades could be in order — as a whole, the unit posted an abysmal 4.50 xFIP and 4.34 BB/9 last season, both of which ranked in the bottom five across the league. Though the departing package was significant, the Redbirds are left with a most prominent feather in their collective cap: with nine big-league-tested starting pitchers in the fold for next season, and a super surplus at catcher — the immortal Yadier Molina, plus top prospect Andrew Knizner — the Cards figure to lose very little in present-day value.
For the Diamondbacks, the return may have eclipsed even their wildest hopes, with one executive reportedly dubbing the package a “boatload.” Weaver and Kelly come with a combined 11 seasons of team control, and each should project around league average in the upcoming campaign. Kelly, a former top 50 prospect, seems especially intriguing — with the offensive baseline at catcher approaching its all-time nadir (catchers slashed a putrid .232/.304/.372 as a whole last season, for an 84 wRC+), the 24-year-old needs only to supplement his sterling defense with marginal offensive production to become an above-average big leaguer.
So, how would you grade this deal for each club?
The offseason’s latest blockbuster trade doesn’t involve the exceptionally active Mariners nor any of the five teams in the hyper-aggressive National League East. Rather, both the Cardinals and Diamondbacks have announced that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been traded from Arizona to St. Louis in exchange for right-hander Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor league infielder Andy Young and a Competitive Balance Round B selection in next year’s draft.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote earlier today that the Cardinals have indicated that they want to determine if there’s any momentum in any of their ongoing trade talks this week, heading into the Winter Meetings, noting that those talks included ongoing negotiations with the Diamondbacks regarding their first baseman and perennial MVP candidate.
Goldschmidt, 31, is heading into his final season of club control and stands to earn $14.5MM next season before reaching free agency next winter. The six-time All-Star rebounded from an awful start to the 2018 campaign to finish with a brilliant .290/.389/.533 line through 690 plate appearances.
The Cardinals have been well-known to be in the hunt for a middle-of-the-order bat for a second consecutive offseason, with a reported focus on corner infielders. The addition of Goldschmidt would presumably push Matt Carpenter to third base, with Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong currently lined up to hand shortstop and second base duties.
Last offseason, the Cards sought a similar addition and turned their focus to Marlins slugger Marcell Ozuna. However, a shoulder injury known to be bothering Ozuna at the time proved detrimental to the outfielder’s offensive production, and he finished the season with a fairly pedestrian .280/.325/.433 batting line and 23 home runs — a far cry from his 2017 slash of .312/.376/.548 and 37 homers. If Ozuna is able to bounce back, the Cards can trot out a lineup featuring Goldschmidt, Carpenter and Ozuna — a highly talented trio with potential to comprise one of the more imposing hearts of the order in the Majors.
For the D-backs, the motivation to trade Goldschmidt comes from the slugger’s limited club control, a bloated payroll that had been at franchise-record levels and a desire to restock a thin farm system. Goldschmidt already inked one club-friendly contract with the D-backs and, with the end of that contract in sight, it’s unlikely that he’d sign for anything less than market value this time around. To that end, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks did try to sign Goldschmidt to an extension before trading him but were unable to come to terms (Twitter link).
With the reality that Goldschmidt wouldn’t be signing a new contract firmly set in place, general manager Mike Hazen and his staff moved to acquire more in exchange for Goldschmidt than they’d have stood to gain by allowing him to play out his final season of club control and receive a qualifying offer. The return announced by the two clubs more than meets that description. Both Weaver and Kelly have big league experience and were considered to be among the game’s top 100 prospects before surfacing in the Majors. Young, meanwhile, posted strong numbers between Class-A Advanced and Double-A last season, and the Competitive Balance draft pick the D-backs are acquiring is currently slotted in at No. 78 overall (though draft compensation from qualified free agents could potentially alter the exact placement by a matter of a few slots).
Weaver will pitch the bulk of next season at just 25 years of age. A year ago at this time, Weaver looked like a lock for the Cards’ rotation for years to come. He’d posted a 3.88 ERA in 60 1/3 innings at the big league level in 2017, turning in brilliant marks of 10.7 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 1.04 HR/9 and a 49.4 percent ground-ball rate. Weaver notched a 3.17 FIP, 2.93 xFIP and 3.29 SIERA in that time and appeared to be one of the National League’s most promising young arms.
The 2018 season, however, saw the former first-round pick take a step back. Weaver totaled 136 1/3 innings with 8.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.25 HR/9 and a diminished 42.4 percent ground-ball rate. His FIP, xFIP and SIERA marks all hovered in the mid-4.00 range as his hard-hit rate spiked by more than 10 percent. Clearly, Weaver has some adjustments to make, but he’s controllable for another five seasons and, if all pans out well, he could give the Snakes a solid mid-rotation arm for the foreseeable future. He’s the second rotation piece the D-backs have added in as many days, following yesterday’s signing of right-hander Merrill Kelly to a two-year deal on the heels of his breakout in the Korea Baseball Organization.
Kelly, meanwhile, gives the D-backs their potential catcher of the future. The 24-year-old was touted as the heir-apparent to Yadier Molina in St. Louis but has yet to find much success in minimal big league time behind Molina. A former second-round pick, Kelly has batted just .154/.227/.188 in 131 plate appearances at the MLB level, though playing time has been hard to come by for him.
However, Kelly comes to the D-backs with six seasons of team control and a career .278/.373/.416 batting line in 755 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. He’s thrown out 32 percent of opposing base thieves in his minor league career and, according to Baseball Prospectus, has turned in very strong framing numbers and above-average blocking abilities throughout his minor league tenure.
As for Young, the 24-year-old turned in strong numbers last season — albeit against younger competition. In 503 PAs last year, he hit .289/.379/.479 with 21 homers, 13 doubles, three triples and four steals. A 37th-round pick in the 2016 draft, he’s shown quite a bit of versatility by playing second base, third base, shortstop and both outfield corners to this point in his professional career.
The draft pick further solidifies a nice return for Arizona. The No. 78 selection in the 2018 draft came with a $763K slot value — a number that should take an incremental step forward in 2019. The D-backs, then, will not only add a top 80 selection to their draft but an additional $775-800K to their overall draft pool next season.
It’s a steep price for the Cardinals to pay, even if Weaver and Kelly are likelier to become solid regulars than perennial All-Stars. A combined 11 years of control, a top-80 selection in next season’s draft a minor league utility player with solid to-date performances gives Arizona ample opportunity to recoup long-term value. The Cards, however, are dealing from positions of depth — particularly with regard to the starting rotation, where Weaver wasn’t even assured a spot in 2019 due to the glut of quality options the team has amassed. While the team has less depth behind the plate, Molina is signed at a premium rate through the 2020 season, meaning Kelly wouldn’t have been in line for regular at-bats until at least 2021. Beyond that, 2016 seventh-rounder Andrew Knizner has elevated his status in recent seasons and is now considered by MLB.com to be the organization’s No. 5 prospect.
It’s also possible that the Cards secure some long-term value out of this trade. They’ll presumably make their own attempt to hammer out a long-term contract with Goldschmidt and, should those efforts come up short as was the case in Arizona, they’ll be in position to recoup a compensatory pick in the 2020 draft by issuing a qualifying offer to Goldschmidt.
From here, the D-backs figure to shift their focus to finding a trade partner for right-hander Zack Greinke. Unlike Goldschmidt, the motivation to move Greinke will stem from a more financial standpoint, as the former AL Cy Young winner is owed a combined $104.5MM over the next three seasons. While the D-backs are reportedly on the hook for the pro-rated signing bonus on his contract even after a trade (per The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan), that sum only totals $9MM. An acquiring team could, in theory, spare the D-backs a whopping $97.5MM in future salary obligations, although it stands to reason that the D-backs would have to include some cash or take back a fairly notable salary as part of any Greinke deal.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweeted that the two sides could be closing in on a trade. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch added that there was “momentum” building in trade talks (Twitter link). Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweeted that Goldschmidt would be going to St. Louis.
8:13pm: The D-backs formally announced the signing via a press release.
5:43pm: The Diamondbacks are in agreement on a two-year, $5.5MM contract with right-hander Merrill Kelly, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). The contract will pay Kelly $2MM in 2019 and $3MM in 2020. It also includes a pair of club options, per Passan, the first of which is valued at $4.25MM and comes with a $500K buyout. The second of the two options comes with a $5.25MM value, he adds.
Kelly, a 30-year-old righty, has never pitched in the Majors but just wrapped up a strong four-year run in the hitter-friendly Korea Baseball Organization. The former Rays farmhand has been particularly impressive over the past two seasons, during which time he has made 61 starts and tossed 390 1/3 innings of 3.64 ERA ball with 341 strikeouts (7.9 K/9) and 105 walks (2.4 BB/9). He’s being viewed as a starter and is expected to join the Diamondbacks’ rotation next season.
The Arizona rotation has taken a hit this winter with the loss of Patrick Corbin, who reportedly agreed to a six-year contract with the Nationals earlier today. Arizona will also be without Taijuan Walker for much of the 2019 season after the righty underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year, and the D-backs also non-tendered Shelby Miller last week. The top names remaining in the Diamondbacks’ rotation mix include Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley and perhaps Matt Andriese, though there’s been ample trade chatter surrounding the veteran Greinke this offseason.
While Kelly lacks big league experience, the contract is a rather low-risk investment for the Diamondbacks, who will hope that Kelly can be the 2019 version of the Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas. It’s the second consecutive season in which GM Mike Hazen and his staff have given a multi-year contract to a pitcher who has no MLB experience. Last winter’s two-year pact for right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano paid off in spades — 66 1/3 innings of 2.44 ERA ball out of the bullpen — and Kelly will bring another intriguing overseas track record at a minimal price.
- Veteran reliever Joakim Soria is drawing interest from at least a handful of clubs at this early stage of the free agent market, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets. The Diamondbacks, Angels, Yankees, Braves, and Reds are all involved to some extent, per the report, representing an interesting slate of organizations. While the New York and Atlanta clubs are clearly in position to add veteran talent in a bid to repeat their postseason appearances from 2018, the other teams listed by Chavez are in somewhat less-certain positions in respect to the open market. The Los Angeles and Cincinnati ballclubs are surely interested in spending to contend, but will need to choose their targets wisely. Meanwhile, Arizona is exploring sell-side deals while also trying to achieve value with new investments. That Soria appeals to all of these teams seems to suggest that the league believes the 34-year-old has plenty left in the tank. And for good reason: he just wrapped up a campaign in which he spun 60 2/3 innings of 3.12 ERA ball, with a healthy 11.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 along with a personal-best 14.4% swinging-strike rate.
In each of the previous two offseasons, the top-ranked free-agent center fielder available inked a deal worth at least $80MM. The Cardinals made a five-year, $82.5MM commitment to Dexter Fowler heading into 2017, and the Brewers followed suit by awarding Lorenzo Cain a five-year, $80MM guarantee last offseason. If A.J. Pollock has his way, he’ll rake in a similar payday this winter. The longtime Diamondback is seeking a contract in the vicinity of the Fowler and Cain pacts, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
It’s no surprise that Pollock is aiming high early in free agency, especially considering the lack of center field alternatives available on either the open or trade market. Nevertheless, Pollock’s asking price may be rather ambitious, with MLBTR predicting he’ll land a four-year, $60MM guarantee and FanGraphs projecting a three-year, $54MM deal.
It’s true that Pollock has generally been a good to excellent performer throughout his career, which began in earnest in 2013. However, injuries have been an all-too-common occurrence for Pollock, who missed 87 games in 2014, 150 in 2016, 50 in 2017 and 49 last season. Further, youth isn’t necessarily on Pollock’s side (he’ll turn 31 on Dec. 6), and because he rejected a qualifying offer from Arizona, signing him would cost a team more than just a truckload of cash. For their part, the Diamondbacks are likely rooting for Pollock to achieve his big-money goal if he doesn’t re-sign with them. Should Pollock go elsewhere for upward of $50MM, it would greatly increase the compensation the D-backs would receive.
To this point, only the Astros have been linked to Pollock on MLBTR’s pages since free agency opened, though Nightengale writes that he’s drawing “plenty of interest.” Aside from the Astros, potential fits could include the Giants, White Sox, Cubs, Mets, Indians and Phillies, among others.
The team that signs Pollock will be landing a valuable player who has totaled between 2.3 fWAR and 6.8 fWAR in five seasons, despite his injury woes. The right-handed hitter posted 2.5 fWAR in 460 plate appearances last season, when he slashed .257/.316/.484 (110 wRC+) with a career-high 21 home runs, a personal-best .228 ISO and 13 stolen bases on 15 tries. Those are impressive numbers, but they pale in comparison to Pollock’s offensive production from his 2014-15 heyday, and he’s now coming off a season in which he registered career-worst chase, swinging-strike, strikeout and contact rates. Meanwhile, Pollock did earn mostly solid marks in center field – which has been the case throughout his time in the majors – with six Defensive Runs Saved, six Outs Above Average and a minus-0.7 Ultimate Zone Rating.
On a per-PA basis, Pollock’s career has been better than Fowler’s when he got to the market and similar to Cain’s when he hit free agency. It’s easy to see why Pollock is likely to collect an appreciable raise in the coming weeks, then. Still, Pollock’s longstanding injury issues figure to prevent him from approaching the contracts Fowler and Cain received.
For all the ongoing talk about Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and the Indians’ trio of starters, Zack Greinke remains one of the more intriguing trade candidates on the market. Zach Buchanan of The Athletic takes an intriguing look at the dilemma the D-backs face in a potential Greinke trade in his latest column, while also revealing the 15 teams on Greinke’s no-trade list.
Per Buchanan, Greinke can block deals to the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Tigers, Angels, Athletics, Phillies, Cardinals, Reds, Giants, Rockies, Dodgers and Padres. Obviously, that list includes several clubs who could make sense a viable trade partner for the D-backs, although Fancred’s Jon Heyman writes in his latest weekly notes column that neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees view Greinke as a fit for their clubs. Still, Greinke has already been connected to the Cardinals and it’s certainly possible to imagine interest from a few other organizations that appear on the list. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Reds have checked in on Greinke, though John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 pulls no punches in rejecting that rumor (Twitter link).
Greinke, 35, has three years and $104.5MM remaining on his contract between his guaranteed salaries and a trio of $3MM payouts on an $18MM signing bonus that was spread out over the life of his six-year, $206.5MM deal. However, Buchanan reports within his column that the signing bonus payouts will remain the D-backs’ responsibility even in the event of a trade. Greinke’s contract does come with a $2MM assignment bonus in the event of a trade, which seemingly falls on the acquiring club, meaning that any team interest in trading for him would be taking on a total of $97.5MM over three seasons (minus any cash the D-backs include to grease the wheels on a swap).
That’s still a major sum for a new team to pay, given Greinke’s age, but the former Cy Young winner has been excellent for Arizona across the past two seasons. The veteran righty crossed the 200-inning threshold in both 2017 and 2018 while posting near-identical 3.20 and 3.21 ERAs. He’s maintained his elite control, still misses bats at an above-average rate and still possesses average or better ground-ball tendencies, as well.
The Diamondbacks have non-tendered a trio of notable players, per a club announcement. Reliever Brad Boxberger, starter Shelby Miller, and infielder/outfielder Chris Owings will all be sent onto the open market.
This slate of departures will save some significant cash for an Arizona club that is in a bit of a transition. Boxberger and Miller each projected to earn a hefty $4.9MM, while Owings would have been due something in the vicinity of $3.6MM.
All three are among the most interesting players set loose tonight. The 30-year-old Boxberger has late-inning experience and has little trouble racking up strikeouts, though he also struggled with walks and dingers in 2018. Miller’s highs and lows are well-documented, but he’s still just 28 years of age. As for Owings, the 27-year-old has not quite fulfilled his initial promise but has mostly been a usefully versatile player. Unfortunately, his bat fell off a cliff last year, so he’ll be looking for a chance at redemption.
This offseason has brought quite a lot of coaching turnover, yet we’ve not heard anything regarding Red Sox pitching guru Brian Bannister. That’s not only by design, but is included in his contract with the club, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston writes in an interesting look at a key figure in the Boston organization. It seems the Red Sox will continue to enjoy Bannister’s services for some time, even if other organizations might have loftier positions to offer.
Here are some of the latest coaching decisions from around the game …
- The Blue Jays have rounded out their coaching staff under new skipper Charlie Montoyo. Former Double-A manager John Schneider is heading up to the big club, though his precise role isn’t yet clear. Other recent hires include Mark Budzinski as first base coach and Shelley Duncan as field coordinator, as Robert Murray of The Athletic reported (Twitter links). The former comes from the Indians’ staff, while the latter had been managing on the Diamondbacks’ farm.
- Tim Laker has been announced as the new hitting coach of the Mariners. He had been in an assistant’s role with the Diamondbacks for the past two seasons. A former MLB backstop, Laker will be tasked with stepping into the shoes of the legendary Edgar Martinez, who shifted to a broader role as organizational hitting advisor.
- The Dodgers have decided to bring on Robert Van Scoyoc as their new hitting coach, according to Pedro Moura of The Athletic (via Twitter). He is also coming from the D-Backs organization. This’ll be Van Scoyoc’s first stint on a MLB staff, and it comes at just 32 years of age. He’s best known for helping to re-launch J.D. Martinez into stardom as a private hitting coach.
- Needless to say, the Diamondbacks have some holes to fill in this area. Eric Hinske will be part of the picture, as he is set to join the team as the assistant hitting coach, per Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (via Twitter). He will work alongside recently hired hitting coach Darnell Coles. Hinske recently held the top hitting coach slot with the Angels and Cubs.
- In another hitting move, the assistant job of the Pirates will be handled by Jacob Cruz. The 45-year-old was most recently the minor-league hitting coordinator of the Cubs and previously worked in the Diamondbacks organization. A former big-league outfielder, Cruz is slated to pair with new hitting coach Rick Eckstein.
The Phillies and Diamondbacks had recent talks about a trade centered around Paul Goldschmidt, tweets Jayson Stark of The Athletic, but talks crumbled when the Phils tried to include Carlos Santana in the deal. Right-hander Zach Eflin was one of multiple younger players discussed as part of a potential return for Arizona, per Stark.
It’s somewhat of a surprise to see the Phils linked to Goldschmidt. A significant driving factor behind Philadelphia’s effort to move Santana, after all, is to open at-bats for Rhys Hoskins to return to first base. Acquiring Goldschmidt would likely mean that Hoskins would remain in left field, where he ranked as one of the game’s worst defenders at any position. Then again, the Phillies are known to be casting a wide net in an effort to improve at virtually any area of the roster, and plugging Goldschmidt in at first base would make for an immensely improved lineup, even if it meant another year of Hoskins in left field.
Goldschmidt, 31, enjoyed yet another brilliant season in 2018, hitting .290/.389/.533 with 33 home runs, 35 doubles and five triples. Perennially one of the game’s premier bats, Goldschmidt is owed $14.5MM in 2019 before he’ll reach the open market and become a free agent for the first time in his career next winter. That lack of club control, the presumably enormous cost of an extension and a crowded Diamondbacks payroll have all combined to create the possibility that Arizona moves the face of its franchise this winter.
Turning to another potential suitor, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cards have talked to the D-backs about a trade for Goldschimdt. As Goold explores in great detail, the slugger checks several boxes — the Cards prefer to trade for a bat rather than sign one and are especially interested in corner infielders — but there are question marks as well. He’d only add to a deluge of right-handed bats in the St. Louis lineup, for example, and there is of course no guarantee he’d be willing to sign an extension — something the Cards would be likely to pursue.
While Goldschmidt is the best player the D-backs could move this winter, he’s hardly the only high-profile candidate to change hands. Zack Greinke, too, has emerged as a potential trade candidate, though circumstances surrounding the two are quite different. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that while the D-backs want young players or prospects back in any Goldschmidt deal — hence the mention of Eflin in Stark’s report — the primary motivation in trading Greinke would be to escape the burden of the three years and $104.5MM remaining on his contract (which includes his annual salaries and a trio of $3MM payouts as part of an $18MM signing bonus that was spread out evenly over the duration of the contract). Greinke’s six-year, $206.5MM contract is the largest ever in terms of average annual value and was signed by the previous front-office regime in Arizona. At 35 years of age, the right-hander is still a highly effective pitcher, but it’s understandable that as payroll has risen beyond the organization’s comfort level, the new-look front office is hoping to unload some of that financial burden.
It’s natural to suggest that the D-backs could try to kill two birds with one stone by trading Goldschmidt and Greinke in one franchise-altering blockbuster. Attaching a player of Goldschmidt’s caliber to Greinke’s contract would hold appeal for an acquiring team, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported this morning (subscription required) that the D-backs aren’t interested in watering down a return on Goldschmidt by packaging him with Greinke. Rosenthal, in fact, notes that Cardinals already had internal discussions about attempting a trade to acquire both, but they’re cognizant of the fact that they’re on Greinke’s 15-team no-trade list. Goold tweets that the Cardinals’ inclusion on Greinke’s no-trade list is tied to geographic preferences.
It should be pointed out, too, that while Greinke’s contract is somewhat onerous, it’s not the albatross that many might think. The veteran righty has topped 200 innings in consecutive seasons with virtually identical ERAs of 3.20 and 3.21 to go along with above-average strikeout rates, elite control and solid ground-ball tendencies. Were he a free agent, Greinke would still command significant interest on a multi-year deal and would likely be regarded alongside the likes of Dallas Keuchel as perhaps the second or third-best arm available.
He likely wouldn’t top $100MM in total guarantees, but there’s a very real argument that Greinke command $20MM+ annually on a three-year deal — as Jake Arrieta did last winter. Arrieta, of course, was a three years younger at the time than Greinke is now, but he was also coming off a worse season. And given the fact that the soon-to-be 39-year-old Rich Hill is entering the third season of a three-year free-agent contract, there’s recent precedent of a pitcher in his mid-to-late 30s securing a three-year guarantee. The exact valuation of Greinke will vary from team to team, but his contract may “only” an overpay of around $30-35MM relative to what he could realistically seek on the open market.