You may be as puzzled as I was to see the Los Angeles Dodgers deal given to Zack Greinke last week: 6 years, $147 million (with a free agency option at the end of his 3rd season). With this new addition, the Dodgers now have the highest payroll in the league at $207.9 million. The first time since 1998 in which the New York Yankees did not have the highest payroll on Opening Day. But, is this deal really as crazy as one might think? Let us look at his statistics, career and 2012 season:
Career: (9 seasons) 91-78, 3.77 ERA, 1332 K, 1.25 WHIP, 2009 AL Cy Young Award
2012 Season: 15-5*, 3.48 ERA, 200 K, 1.20 WHIP, with the Brewers and Angels
*He went 15-5 last season on two teams, and was 5-0 in his last five starts with the Angels. Let us now compare him to three pitchers:
CC Sabathia– 2007 AL Cy Young
Salary: $23 million per year*
Career: (11 seasons) 191-102, 3.50 ERA, 2214 K, 1.22 WHIP
2012 Season: 15-6, 3.38 ERA, 197 K, 1.14 WHIP
Matt Cain– 3-time All Star
Salary: $15 million per year
Career: (8 seasons) 85-78, 3.27 ERA, 1278 K, 1.17 WHIP
2012 Season: 16-5, 2.79 ERA, 193 K, 1.04 WHIP
Clayton Kershaw– 2011 NL Cy Young
Salary: $7.5 million per year
Career: (5 seasons) 61-37, 2.79 ERA, 974 K, 1.14 WHIP
2012 Season: 14-9, 2.53 ERA, 229 K, 1.02 WHIP
*CC Sabathia signed the largest contract ever for a pitcher, Greinke’s contract is worth $1.5 million more.
When comparing win-loss records, Greinke, Cain, and Sabathia nearly have identical statistics, while Kershaw makes up for it with the lowest ERA of the group, 2.53, and the most K’s, 229.
Is Zack Greinke really worth $24.5 million per year? The answer is simply NO! The Dodgers are taking a new philosophy, one which has failed for them before, “the more you spend the better you will be”. For 5 years, $80 million, they could have signed free agent RHP Annibal Sanchez (2012: 9-13, 3.86 ERA) and for 4 years, $60 million, they could have obtained RHP Kyle Lohse (2012: 16-3, 2.86 ERA). Do the math, $140 million for two pitchers over the next five years, or for one pitcher with an opt- out clause after three.