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Good, Not Great: Second Thoughts on the Greinke Contract

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Everyone is happy again. Dayton Moore shines again and a host of values have been reaffirmed. Greinke delivered a classic presser to boot. Zack Greinke is a tremendous pitcher, and the type of elite, top-end talent the franchise needs to win the Division. He'll be around until the end of the 2012 season, or at least could be. Its a good day to be a Royals fan, but perhaps I'm the only one who slowly and partially, is seeing a distinct lack of AWESOME!! in the big deal. Goodness, yes. Awesomeness, meh.

Reportedly, the contract breaks down like this:

 

2009 3.75
2010 7.25
2011 13.5
2012 13.5

This is a good deal, but I think a point of negativity, if you will, needs to be made. The Royals aren't really saving money here, so much as creating a scenario akin to if Greinke had merely gone to arb/pre-arb deal for two years, then signed a two-year /$27 million dollar contract after the '10 season. $13.5 per is actually quite a lot of money for payoffs years down the road. Sure, according to various sabermetric models, Greinke will likely be worth it, but this may be a lot closer to "breaking even" than you think.

Both parties get a little bit of security and that's about it. For Greinke, he gets some coverage in case he suffers a major injury or has a bad year or if the collusion, err "effects of the economy" continues. The Royals avoid two rounds of contract disputes and a 2010 scenario in which there is no earthly chance that Greinke is signable.

I'm thrilled that Greinke is "locked down" through 2012, but in reality its a two-year extension on an existing two-year deal. A two-year/$27 million dollar contract can be interpreted a number of ways, positive and negative. At a certain point, the logic flips, and if the team is risking an investment in Greinke through 2012, it makes sense to double-down in a sense, and get another year of his services.

Jump on me if you want, but after thinking about it for a few hours, there's a part of me that doesn't consider this a huge "get" for Moore. For a variety of reasons, Greinke's service-time clock and percieved value had left them in a favorable position. Greinke was going to be a bargain in '09 and probably '10 no matter what. Absent another year of team control, I have to say that they did not hit a home run with this deal. It's a double, maybe a two-RBI double, but it isn't a three-run homer.