The Los Angeles Dodgers were busy over a two-day stretch in December of 2012 as they signed Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke to bolster a starting rotation that was led by Clayton Kershaw. Greinke slotted in as a second ace, while Ryu was among the game’s best third starters.
Although the trio was formidable, the Dodgers advanced beyond the National League Division Series just once during their time together. After being eliminated in the first round by the New York Mets, December again brought about a day of reckoning in 2015.
A few months prior, Greinke had opted out of the remaining three years and $71 million on the contract he signed with the Dodgers. There were several suitors for the right-hander, and the Dodgers were among the more aggressive teams.
But just as it appeared Greinke was poised to re-sign, he spurned the Dodgers and agreed to a record-setting contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Dec. 4, 2015. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman reflected on turn of events, via Andy McCullough of The Athletic:
Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations, spent the morning engaged with Casey Close, Greinke’s agent, haggling over details like no-trade trade protection and perks like ticket packages. A deal appeared imminent.
“To me,” Friedman said earlier this week, “it indicated that we were really close.”
The turnabout stunned the Dodgers. Friedman described the day as “an emotional rollercoaster.” Presented with an opportunity to counter Arizona’s offer, Friedman balked.
Greinke had long been candid about his willingness to play for whichever team would compensate him best. The six-year, $206.5 million deal signed with the Diamondbacks set a then-record MLB record for average annual value at $34.42 million.
The Dodgers were believed to initially be hesitant in extending to a sixth year in their offer but did ultimately do so. The value of the deal reportedly was in the neighborhood of $160 million, which team president and CEO Stan Kasten later deemed went beyond ‘strictly prudent.’
Greinke helped the Diamondbacks to moderate success, though the Dodgers’ remained a thorn in his side. Arizona wound up exploring trades for the effective, but aging starter, and L.A. reportedly made an offer in 2016.
The Diamondbacks eventually traded to the Houston Astros this past season, and he nearly helped lead them to a World Series.
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