The 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers had high expectations going into the postseason, with one of the best pitching duos in franchise history. Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw headlined the charge, while Zack Greinke reigned as perhaps the best No. 2 starter in Major League Baseball.
Alas the Dodgers failed to so much advance beyond the National League Division Series, though Greinke’s historically-great campaign came at an opportune time. He predictably opted out of his contract following the 2015 season, and stuck to his word of signing with the club that committed the largest salary.
Greinke received a record six-year, $206.5 million deal from the Arizona Diamondbacks, who outbid the Dodgers by more than $50 million.
Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks was a disappointment. He went 13-7 record and only pitched 158.2 innings, which was his lowest total since 2007.
The right-hander also posted a 4.37 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 101 ERA+ and 1.27 WHIP in 26 starts, while the Diamondbacks compiled a 69-93 record, good for fourth in the National League West. Suffice to say, Greinke, nor the Diamondbacks met expectations.
The 33-year-old is not deterred, however, expressing similar confidence in the Diamondbacks that he did at the time of signing with the club, via Bob Baum of the Associated Press:
“I guess it could have been better everywhere, team and me,” he said. “But I still have really high hopes for our team. I thought we were going to be really good going into last year. We pretty much have the same team or a very similar team. I think we should be good.”
Greinke’s suffered a left oblique strain on June 29, and while he was originally projected to return roughly one month later, suffered a setback and was out until Aug. 10. He then was shut down in September due to shoulder inflammation.
The injuries were foreign to Greinke, who otherwise proclaimed himself healthy and doesn’t have any concerns heading into the season:
“I’m not used to it,” he said of the injuries, “but I feel really healthy and strong. I’m not feeling real old. I feel pretty good. I feel like they were semi-fluky injuries, not anything long-term-issue-wise.”
During the second half of the season the Dodgers were linked to Greinke and a potential trade. Arizona and Los Angeles reportedly held talks, with the Dodgers said to have proposed a deal that included cash, though the Diamondbacks balked at the offer.
The Florida native largely struggled in his three starts against the Dodgers last season, going 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA over three outings. Included in that was a shelling at Dodger Stadium, when Greinke was charged with eight runs on nine hits, and allowed a career-high five home runs.
The three-time All-Star said after the outing he felt comfortable in front of the raucous crowd, despite the horrendous results.
The Dodgers first face the Diamondbacks on April 14 for the start of a four-game series.