The Los Angeles Dodgers made a huge splash in free agency this off-season with the acquisition of Zack Greinke, who was the top starting pitcher on the market. Why did Greinke eventually decide to ink a deal with the Dodgers opposed to other teams that were trying to sign him?
Greinke became the highest paid right-handed pitcher of all time when he signed a six-year, $147 million contract with the Dodgers this winter. Even though Felix Hernandez’s extension recently eclipsed that mark, it still makes Greinke the highest paid free agent right-hander in MLB history.
The fact that Los Angeles was able to pay him more than any other team while still acquiring other top notch players is just one of the many reasons why he chose to play for the Dodgers instead of the Los Angeles Angels or Milwaukee Brewers, two teams he played for in 2012 that were very interested in bringing him back. Los Angeles was able to obtain Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto in a trade last year that forced them to pick up $280 million in salaries. The fact that the team was able to do this while still being aggressive in free agency spoke volumes to the starter.
“It was definitely bold,” Greinke said. “It was a lot of money. But then you think about the talented guys; you can’t get them without paying. But there was so much money involved, it sounded crazy. Then I heard how much money they’ll make with the TV deal, [roughly $7 billion].”
For the Dodgers to get $7 billion in television rights means they can be financially competitive with the top teams in baseball. It is no secret that Greinke wants to play for a team that can be contending for championships annually and it sure seems the Dodgers will be able to do that from here on out with the money and players that they have. This also means that Los Angeles will most likely not have to rebuild anytime soon which was another huge plus for Greinke. In fact, the 29-year-old researched the farm systems of each team that had shown interest in him just to make sure he knew what he was getting himself into when signing the multi-year deal.
“It wasn’t just for the farm system,” Greinke said. “Some of it was the organization’s ability to sustain a good team. The Dodgers need a farm system less than if I signed with, say, the Rays. Every team may be able to sustain for a period of time with the current roster, but if something doesn’t go right, do they have enough to go out and keep the team competitive? My preference is to be in the playoffs every year, and only a couple teams have a good chance at that.”
Los Angeles should not need to dip into their prospects anytime soon with the talent they have signed. However, look no further than the Los Angeles Lakers to see that just because a team has acquired multiple All-Stars does not mean it will automatically work.
As for now, Greinke is clearly happy where is he is sunny Los Angeles playing for a competitive team that is already a heavy favorite to go the distance. All the rest of us have to do now is wait to see if the experiment succeeds or implodes before it even takes off.