Zack Greinke has made it official….Casey Close will represent him.
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) April 3, 2012
The 28-year-old right-hander will be a free agent after the 2012 season which means if the Brewers want to sign him long-term they better move quickly. Contract negotiations have been ongoing between Greinke and the Brewers throughout the offseason. Greinke has been negotiating on his behalf without a representative which means the fact that he has hired one could be a good sign for Milwaukee.
The timing of the hiring is also important to note because it came less than a day after Matt Cain signed a record six-year, $127.5 million contract extension with the San Francisco Giants making him the highest-paid right-hander in Major League Baseball history. Greinke believes he can get in the same ballpark as Cain’s contract and there is no doubt he is capable of putting up the numbers this season to warrant that kind of deal.
Greinke and Cain had very similar statistics during the 2011 baseball season. Greinke played in 50 less innings because of a fractured rib that sidelined him for the first month of the season but he still managed to strike out 22 more batters, win four more games and have five fewer losses than Cain. On the other hand, Cain did manage to end the season with a 2.88 ERA which is very impressive considering he pitched in 221.2 innings.
The Brewers are in a good position because Greinke enjoys playing in Milwaukee on a team that is built to go the distance. Obviously, without Prince Fielder there are a lot of uncertainties on the team but several people, including myself, believe the Brewers should not lose a step as they defend their National League Central division crown this season.
Milwaukee will have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, they will continue to have one of the most potent offenses in the league and they also have the best setup man and closer in the majors. If the Brewers are able to show Greinke an appropriate contract extension then they will have a good chance of re-signing him.