To no surprise, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke rejected the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, the club announced shortly after Friday’s 2 p.m. PT deadline.
Coming off the best season of his 12-year career, Greinke is a hot commodity this offseason. He expressed interest in returning to Los Angeles, which the deep-pocketed Dodgers certainly have the resources to make a reality.
Greinke’s list of suitors is also believed to include the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, among others.
Greinke went 19-3 last season, with an MLB-best 1.66 ERA, 225 ERA+ and 0.84 WHIP. He was named the National League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher by his peers, won a second consecutive Gold Glove Award, and is a finalist for the 2015 NL Cy Young Award.
In three seasons with the Dodgers, he’s 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA. Should the Dodgers not come to an agreement with the right-hander, they could turn their focus to a strong class of free agent starting pitchers.
The group includes Johnny Cueto, David Price, Jeff Samardzija and Jordan Zimmermann. Los Angeles currently only has a starting rotation of Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood. Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu remain under contract, but are coming off respective season-ending surgeries.
Greinke is said to be the Dodgers’ top priority, with Price next in line. Greinke is expected to sign for a contract similar to what the Washington Nationals doled out to Max Scherzer got last offseason — $210 million over seven years.
It should be noted Scherzer signed prior to entering his age-31 season, whereas Greinke turned 32 years old on Oct. 21.
If Greinke is to sign elsewhere, the Dodgers will receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds of the 2016 draft, and his new club will need to forfeit their first pick. However the top 10 picks are protected, in which case the next-highest selection is forfeited.