The top free agents of the 2023 Free Agents have nearly all signed contracts with teams. Despite that, there is still a pitcher lingering on the market that could be a quietly fantastic signing for the Mariners. That player is 39-year-old former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, and if decides to come back for one last ride, the front office and Jerry Dipoto should be offering him a deal without hesitation.
For several reasons, his fit in Seattle is perfect. He is a veteran presence that could teach a young staff a lot, he has connections on the team in Robbie Ray and Dipoto and finally, he remains incredibly productive at a cheap price.
In 2022 for the Kansas City Royals Greinke started 26 games and remained productive throughout the year, throwing 137 innings and maintaining a 3.63 ERA and 111 ERA+.
His deal last season was worth $13 million over one season with $2 in performance incentives, according to MLB.
If Dipoto can work some magic and do something similar but make it $7 million base with another $5-7 million in performance incentives, his fit on the Mariners would be perfect.
It would not be the first time that Dipoto would make a move to get Greinke on his team. In 2012, while the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels, he swung a deal with the Brewers to get the pitcher that sent a haul to the Brew Crew that included future Mariners shortstop Jean Segura, according to Beyond the Box Score.
Following the Angels and Greinke parting way after just one season. Greinke's agent Casey Close left words of praise for the GM despite the two not inking a deal on a return.
“[Dipoto] is a very bright guy, a talented executive,” Close said.
Grienke also has another connection on the current Mariners roster, dating back to his time with the Diamondbacks. That would be the former Cy Young Award winner in Robbie Ray. The two were teammates from 2016-19 in Arizona and became close friends.
They are close enough that Greinke even attended his first ever MLB game in the stands during game 3 of the 2022 ALDS between the Mariners and Astros in Seatle, according to his wife Emily Greinke’s Instagram account.
With two documented connections on the Mariners, one being a personal relationship and one being a working one, the Mariners have everything that Greinke would be looking for in a new contract.
He would be a fantastic edition to be a fifth or sixth starter if the Mariners wanted to run a rotation on extended rest.
His impact goes far beyond basic production, as he would be a mentor to a relatively young staff. The Athletic (paywall) outlined several key stories from his latest year with the Royals and his impact on the likes of Brady Singer.
Between himself and Ray, there would be two Cy Young Award winners on the same staff with electricity coming from the likes of Matt Brash, Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, and more.
It’s clear that the player and club combination of Greinke and the Mariners is a match made in heaven, the only thing left is for the pen to hit the paper and make the signing official.