Mariners Free Agent Target: Zack Greinke


The Mariners starting rotation is currently in doubt as Hisashi Iwakuma is a free agent.  The addition of Nate Karns is helpful, but losing a top tier starter does not bode well for the Mariners in 2016.  Looking at the free agent market one can see that the best starting pitcher available is Zack Greinke, who finished second in the NL Cy Young voting.  Zack opted out of his multi-year contract with the Dodgers and turned down the qualifying offer as well.

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Pitchers of Greinke’s quality are rarely available in free agency.  So when they are there, you have to take a serious look.  Jerry Dipoto knows the value that Greinke brings to a team first hand.  As the Angels general manager Jerry traded 3 players for him in 2012 as a rent a player.  At the end of the season he was hoping to sign him to a long term contract but he was unable to. Jerry and the Angels made a business decision.  Greinke would bring top of the rotation stuff to Seattle if Jerry Dipoto signs him.  He would compliment Felix Hernandez tremendously.

Zack’s 2015 season with the Dodgers was his best season yet in the majors.  Better than his 2009 AL Cy Young season.  He won 19 games and lost 3.  He had 200 strikeouts and 40 walks with a 1.66 ERA and .844 WHIP.  He is 32 years old but it seems like the older he gets, the better he pitches.

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Zack Greinke was slated to make $26 million in 2016, $25 million in 2017, and $26 million in 2018 before he opted out of his contract.  The Dodgers and the Giants are currently pursuing Greinke pretty heavily.  Zack Greinke enjoys batting so he most likely prefers to stay in the National League.  My guess is he is too expensive for the Mariners.  It all depends on if the Mariners are willing to spend some money.  With large contracts in place for Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz it might be a stretch to see Zack Greinke with the Mariners in 2016.  But stranger things have happened.

Sep 11, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Hisashi Iwakuma is looking for a raise.  He turned down the qualifying offer of $15.8 million.  He is looking to see what he can get in the free agent market.  But, if the Mariners are unable to bring Iwakuma back for a reasonable amount of money,  they should upgrade their rotation by adding Zack Greinke.  Currently the staff of Felix Hernandez, Taijuan Walker, Nathan Karns, James Paxton, Roenis Elias, and Vidal Nuño is missing a top tier starter.  Zack Greinke challenged Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles as the number one.  I think he would do the same for Felix.  The Mariners should take a hard look at upgrading their rotation with Zack Greinke.