UPDATE (Dec. 2, 8:15 a.m. PT): As a decision from Zack Greinke continues to be expected within the coming days, it appears to be growing increasingly likely he will land a contract with a higher average annual value than David Price.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the numbers to watch for Greinke are $32 and $33 million per year:
The key numbers are $32M and $33M, according to people close to Greinke, and the deal is expected to be for five or six years.
Days after Jordan Zimmermann signed a five-year, $110 million contract with the Detroit Tigers to set the free-agency wheels in motion for starting pitchers, the Boston Red Sox upped the ante on Tuesday.
David Price agreed to a seven-year, $217 million contract with Boston, securing the richest contract doled out to a starting pitcher in MLB history.
Clayton Kershaw previously held the honor when he signed a seven-year, $215 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 2014.
Heading into the offseason Greinke and Price figured to be the two most coveted free agents, with other starting pitchers playing second fiddle.
In the wake of Price agreeing to terms with the Red Sox, Greinke was said to be seeking a similar contract with a greater average annual value. According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, that may translate to a six-year deal with an AAV of $32 million:
I am now expecting Zack Greinke to land a 6-year deal with an average annual value of $32m per year with his landing spot either with the Dodgers or Giants and a decision in the next 48 hours according to a source close to the situation. tick tock tick tock.
The Dodgers reportedly have Greinke as their top priority this winter, though the San Francisco Giants continue to be viewed as a strong threat to steal the right-hander.
A six-year contract for a pitcher of Greinke’s age — 32 years old — generally is a threshold front offices have avoided. However, there’s wide belief Greinke may very well be the exception to the rule, and a deal of this nature likely would include an opt-out clause.
Kershaw can opt out of his contract following the 2018 season, and the same is expected to hold true for Price once his deal is made official.
Rick Honeycutt, who served as Greinke’s pitching coach with the Dodgers for the last three seasons believes he’s capable of aging in similar fashion to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.
Prior to Price agreeing with the Red Sox, it was reported Greinke’s representative pressed Boston for an answer on the contract proposal from his client.
Greinke went 19-3 last season with MLB-bests 1.66 ERA, 225 ERA+ and 0.84 WHIP. He won a second consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award, and was named the National League Most Outstanding Pitcher by his peers.
Greinke over three seasons with the Dodgers is 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA, 2.97 FIP and 1.03 WHIP.