When the 2015 season began, there was the assumption Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke would opt out of the remaining three years and $71 million on his contract come season’s end.
That belief was contingent on Greinke remaining healthy, which not only was the case, but he had a career year. As the season wore on Greinke opting out became more of a formality and according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, the 32 year old officially elected for free agency on Wednesday morning:
Zack Greinke has officially opted out. He is a free agent. #Dodgers
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) November 4, 2015
Greinke finished the season 19-3 with an MLB-best 1.66 ERA, 225 ERA+ and 0.84 WHIP. His ERA title snapped Clayton Kershaw’s four-year run of leading the Majors in that statistic. Greinke’s season has him among the leaders for the National League Cy Young Award.
The Dodgers signed Greinke signed to a six-year, $147 million contract in December 2012. Considering his talent and 2015 campaign, it’s expected Greinke will seek a longterm deal in excess of $100 million.
For as valuable as Greinke was, signing a 32-year-old pitcher to such a contract wouldn’t appear to fall in line with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s and general manager’s Farhan Zaidi’s vision.
Greinke said after his Game 5 loss in the National League Division Series re-signing with Los Angeles “would be nice,” should he elect to opt out.
The only healthy pitchers currently in the Dodgers’ 2016 rotation are Kershaw and Alex Wood. Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu are both under contract, but coming off respective season-ending surgeries.
The Dodgers are hopeful Ryu will be ready for the start of next season, with McCarthy a candidate to return near the All-Star break.
Other aces in the free-agent market are Johnny Cueto, David Price and Jordan Zimmermann. Greinke went 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA in 92 starts over three seasons with the Dodgers.