Party like it’s 2009! The Royals have brought back Zack Greinke on a one-year, $13 million deal, a move that taps into nostalgia but also makes a fair amount of baseball sense. Here are some of the reactions to the most significant Royals free agent signing of the off-season.
Alec Lewis writes why the Royals welcomed Zack Greinke back with open arms.
Greinke’s history of racking up innings and starts in big games is why this move goes beyond sentimental value for the club.
“He’s always been a pitcher who has never had any fear,” Moore said. “He’s not afraid to try different things. He’s creative. To me, he’s everything a pitcher should be.”
The Royals have had their eye on Zack for awhile.
“It seems like over the last three or four years it’s something that, truthfully, we’ve targeted,” Moore said. “A desire to someday bring him back. We follow everything Zack Greinke does. He started in this organization, and we have a very special appreciation for him and Emily and his family. It’s something we wanted to work hard to make happen.
“The fact that we had a previous relationship with Zack and a comfort level, that all came together and lined up and allowed us to execute this and perhaps win the tie. I know there were several suitors out there with Zack Greinke.”
Dayton Moore says that fan excitement was an added bonus for bringing a player like Zack to Kansas City.
Sam McDowell at the Star writes that the Greinke signing reveals the Royals' plans.
A one-year contract Greinke offers sense from a baseball perspective and from perspectives far behind it. But it’s the former that proves more revealing.
You don’t pay $13 million for sentimentality — even when the sentimentality makes for one hell of a compelling story.
The Royals might not be referring to themselves as World Series contenders, but they aren’t viewing 2022 as another step in the waiting game. Yes, they will need their young arms to emerge, along with a couple of the highly touted bats. That’s as obvious as it is uncertain.
Greinke offers an accelerant to the process. He is 38, not the Cy Young pitcher he once was, but the artistry of his method always lent itself to pitching effectively deep into his 30s. There are few who study in the game in the manner in which he does. Few who, as Moore put it, read a hitter’s swing the way he can. He pitches more than he throws. Those are traits the Royals hope he will pass on.
Craig Brown at Into the Fountains doesn’t see this as a purely nostalgic signing.
No, this isn’t some sort of farewell tour. This isn’t the move of a franchise looking to sell some tickets before a former star rides off into retirement. Greinke is in Kansas City because the Royals need innings from the back of the rotation and that’s exactly what he can provide. He can slide into that fourth or fifth starter role and take the ball every fifth day. And he can provide quality. He’s been a better-than-league-average pitcher nearly every year of his career. Would you be surprised if Grienke finished the 2022 season with 200 innings and an ERA around 4? I wouldn’t.
The Cubs were exploring signing Greinke before he went to Kansas City.
Why did Zack choose Kansas City? They were going to let him pitch.
Royals make the Zack Greinke deal official.— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) March 16, 2022
Kansas City’s commitment to give him starts, and not limiting the length of those starts helped secure the deal. #Royals
Despite Greinke’s velocity dipping below 90 mph last year, Dayton is unconcerned.
“He doesn’t really do it much differently,” Moore said. “He’s always been somebody that has a great feel to pitch and command of his pitches and somebody that really has a feel for what a hitter is trying to do and how to change speeds and disrupt timing and do all those things you have to do to be successful as a pitcher.
“The power of his pitches is not what it perhaps once was, but I think if Zack wanted to throw with more power, he probably can and is capable of doing that. But at the end of the day, he realizes it’s about executing pitches.”
David Lesky at Inside the Royals takes a closer look at Greinke’s velo decline last year.
To that end, Greinke controls the zone well and threw a first-pitch strike two-thirds of the time. He also threw 75 percent of his pitches either ahead in the count or even in the count where he found the most success. If he can continue that trend, he’s likely going to be just fine. As I said with Soren Petro yesterday, he’s savvy enough that even without elite stuff, he shouldn’t completely fall off a cliff. Still, there’s at least some concern that you’re looking at something like 140-150 innings with the team backing off him a bit at times.
Brennan Mense at Overtime Heroics thinks a move to Kansas City could help Grienke.
Greinke enters 2022 only 191 strikeouts shy of 3,000 for his career, but it’s likely he will finish the season well short. In 2021, he struck out 120 batters in 171.0 innings, with his strikeout rate of 17.2% ranking as the fifth-lowest in all of Major League Baseball.
That means his success will likely be predicated on the performance of his defense and his home ballpark, which is good news. As we all know, Minute Maid Park is small and Kauffman Stadium has the most fair territory in the American League. Good start.
Rany Jazayerli agrees.
Taking emotion out of it, the thing about Greinke is that he has become a pitch-to-contact guy (K rate of 17.2% last year) who is very dependent on his defense. An infield of BWJ, Mondesi, and Lopez, with Benintendi, Taylor, and Merrifield in the outfield, is a great fit for him. https://t.co/mq4mRSdYrE— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) March 16, 2022
Things are a bit different since Zack was in Kansas City before.
Zack Greinke’s most recent game in a Royals uniform was Sept. 30, 2010 against the Rays— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 16, 2022
Starting lineups for both teams ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/lZDy2ZkOfM
Fans loved the signing.
today is the happiest day of my life... https://t.co/fWoy4NmGUO— Baseball Brit (@BaseballBrit) March 16, 2022
The #Royals took Mike Minor and his ($10.5 million contract with a $1 million buyout) and turned it into Greinke (1 yr, $13 mil) and AG (2 years of tm control). Payroll only bumped to $93 million and no prospects dealt. Just...wow.— Kevin O. (@RoyalReportKev) March 16, 2022
Signing Zack Greinke to this particular #Royals team was perfect in regards to helping to maximize fan interest. Between him and Bobby Witt Jr, who is going to be a stud, the fans will at least have something to look forward to.— (@TacoSalazar) March 16, 2022
GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE GREINKE— Old Man Duggan (@oldmanduggan) March 16, 2022
I’d pay so much money to see the first Zack Greinke/Alec Lewis interaction.— Jared Speckman (@Speck60) March 16, 2022
Welcome back to Kansas City, Zack!