Barring Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreeing on a contract extension, it was all but certain the right-hander would opt out of the remaining three years on his contract after the 2015 season.
Greinke proceeded to have a career year, going 19-3 with a Major-League leading 1.66 ERA, 225 ERA+ and 0.84 WHIP.
As expected, he opted out of his contract, leaving a guaranteed $71 million on the table. The Dodgers extended a qualifying offer to Greinke, which he expectedly declined.
With a need to address their pitching staff, specifically the spot in the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers are said to have Greinke as their top priority.
While there’s some generally some hesitation with giving a 32-year-old pitcher a long-term contract, Rick Honeycutt, who was Greinke’s pitching coach over the last three seasons, isn’t concerned.
In an interview with SportsNet LA’s John Hartung, Honeycutt shared his belief Greinke will age in similar fashion to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux:
“He actually gets better as the season goes on; he’s in great shape, his mechanics are good. I think he can continue to pitch into his 40s, just like [Greg] Maddux. I think [Greinke] has the ability just because of the pitches he has already and he’s able to make adjustments with himself. There’s no doubt in my mind he can go as long as he wants to. For the next five years, I don’t see him having any issues. He’s very intelligent, takes care of himself and trains extremely well. A lot of guys have talent, but you also have to have the smarts to go with it and he definitely has that.”
Honeycutt also admitted to being shocked over the 2015 National League Cy Young vote that had Chicago Cubs ace finishing ahead of Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.
While Greinke’s future with the Dodgers remains uncertain, Honeycutt is expected to return with the club on a two-year contract that includes him eventually transitioning to a special assistant role.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently stated no coaches’ contracts were finalized.
Should the 2015 season go down as Greinke’s last with the Dodgers, he will finish 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA over three years with the club.