Mariners Free Agent Profile: Veteran SP Zack Greinke

Apr 17, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Zack Greinke Mariners
Apr 17, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Seattle Mariners are looking to add one more starting pitcher this offseason, and they are expected to be active in the free agency/trade markets once the MLB lockout (hopefully) ends in the early spring. SoDo Mojo has touched on a few possibilities for filling the final spot in the M’s rotation, including internal options, but I’m here to advocate for a potential pursuit of veteran Zack Greinke.

Zack Greinke has the playoff experience, leadership capability, and pitching skills that could help take the Mariners’ pitching staff to the next level.

Greinke, 38, is currently a free agent for the first time since signing a 6-year, $206.5 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016. His best season under that contract came in 2019, when he went 10-4 with a 2.90 ERA with the D-Backs before being shipped to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline; he went 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA with the Astros that season, and helped lead them to an American League championship.

Known throughout the league for his intense demeanor on the mound, positive clubhouse presence, and occasional on-field quirkiness, Greinke would be a welcome addition to a Mariners pitching staff that is mostly composed of even-keeled personalities such as Marco Gonzales, Logan Gilbert, and Chris Flexen; spending some time around a pitcher who is both intense on the mound and lighthearted in the clubhouse could help loosen up those three key pitchers.

At 38 years and old and coming off of an 11-6, 4.16 ERA season, Greinke is not expected to demand anywhere near his previous contract amount. However, he is still a high-end starter with significant playoff experience, so he’ll likely demand a contract in the $15-20 million per year range in his next deal.

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In my opinion, if Greinke is open to a one-year contract, his career experience and leadership presence alone would be worth the money for the Mariners, who still have plenty of salary cap space available as they aim to put together a playoff-caliber roster for 2022.