Much of the talk in the baseball world was when the Toronto Blue Jays traded a number of young prospects for highly-touted starting pitcher David Price. It’s expected that Price will either be a rental player or will sign with the Blue Jays for a record-setting amount of money. Either way, it will take a great deal of cash to gain his services in 2016. However, as good as Price has been, there is a name that has been forgotten in the midst of all of this ‘Price is Right’ talk. The name happens to have the best ERA in the majors, this season. The name is Zack Greinke.
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Sometimes, we forget about the west coast players because they start playing when many of us have gone to bed. They play well into the night, while the east coast can’t hear what’s happening on the television at the local bar, with everyone talking, drinking, and trying to have a good time late at night. However, just because a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s around, that tree still makes a huge sound, just like Greinke.
According to ESPN.com, Greinke has a 1.61 ERA to lead both major leagues and earn a 17-3 record, this season. In 200.2 innings, he struck out 182 opposing batters while only walking 34. His WHIP is also the lowest in both leagues, sitting at 0.85, with the closest to him being his teammate on the mound, you may have heard of him, Clayton Kershaw at 0.90. To put these numbers into perspective, Price has a 2.46 ERA, a 15-5 record, a 1.08 WHIP, and has struck out 203 batters to walking 42.
The records you can throw out, since Price went from the struggling Detroit Tigers to the World Series favorites in Toronto while Greinke has stayed on the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team bound for the postseason, all year.
What shouldn’t be overlooked is the run support both men have had. Price has a run support average of 4.86 per start. Greinke has had 3.90, almost a full run less per start. Nobody is saying that Price doesn’t deserve the money he wants in a new contract, but Greinke has been more dominating and has had less help from his team than Price has had this season.
Aug 26, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; A Toronto Blue Jays fan holds up a birthday sign for starting pitcher David Price (not pictured) at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Blue Jays defeat the Rangers 12-4. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
So, why all of the attention on Price? Well, one reason could be that Price has stayed relatively east in his moves from Tampa Bay to Detroit and Toronto. The media attention can swarm easier, without having to go to the west coast. In the land of the Hollywood, wild fires, and the Lakers, maybe the media isn’t quite as concerned with updating the east coast on how a baseball team is doing. Or maybe the east coast isn’t as concerned with listening.
Another reason for the hype could be, simply, the difference in personalities. Price is very active in social media while Greinke goes about his business for the team. Both men play with a fire in their bellies, but Price does it with a smile while Greinke looks like he’ll burn a hole through you with a glance in your direction.
Regardless, one reporter believes that Greinke is worth another look. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote about Greinke’s potential for another club:
"“Because Greinke turns 32 in October, the likelihood of him snagging a seven-year deal isn’t nearly as high as with Price. One GM, though, suggested Greinke could instead break Kershaw’s record for average annual value on a deal and sign for five years and $175 million once he opts out of the final three seasons of his current contract with the Dodgers, which at this point is a formality.”"
Greinke has $77 million of guaranteed dollars coming to him for the next three years, but will make more money when he takes the Dodgers up on the clause that they gave him in his contract to opt out of it after 2015. He didn’t this season, but after what he’s accomplished it is hard to see him not doing so. “In history, only five pitchers have had at least two 200-plus ERA+ seasons: Pedro Martinez, Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux and Christy Mathewson. Now that’s some company.”
Sep 7, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) in the second inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s face it: the Dodgers are old. They are one of the oldest teams in the majors, hitting an average age of 28.6 years. If they are going to win, it has to be soon. One could make the argument that with Carl Crawford, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Adrian Gonzalez, A.J. Ellis, and Howie Kendrick on the team taking prominent spots on the roster, many of these men will not make it past this season or the next in any shape other than past their prime. The time is now for them to win. If they don’t, will there be any sentiment for Greinke to want to extend his time with the Dodgers? Won’t the Dodgers want to spend more of their deep pockets of money on players to replace the aging greats they have now?
If the Dodgers want to remain competitive, they may not feel that they need to pay two aces that much money. Kershaw is locked up, and the Dodgers have a few other pitchers in their organization whom have done well. Some of them are on the disabled list, right now, waiting for their injuries to heal for the postseason or in 2016. If that’s the case, Greinke, as good as he’s been, could be as expendable as Price was to the Tigers. Detroit knew their asset wasn’t helping them rebuild the team by taking up a spot and potentially moving off in this winter’s free agency, so they traded Price to get value back for their team, while they could. The Greinke situation seems awfully similar.
If the Red Sox are going to spend big money, regardless of which starting pitcher is on the market, should they not look at Greinke as Plan-A, and not Plan-B? He’s had a better year than Price, will be cheaper than the cost of Price, and has been away from the American League long enough for batters to not be as familiar with him as Price. The advantage seems to side with obtaining Greinke. Then again, the Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was the general manager who brought Price to Detroit in the first place. Sometimes, you just go with what you know, instead of what could be.
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