So this morning the buzz all over the baseball rumor mills is that the Dodgers are shopping co-ace and former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, in order to position themselves for a winning free agent offer to Jon Lester. This makes no sense whatsoever, and would be a huge mistake, on several fronts.
2015 will be the third year of Greinke’s six-year, $147 Million contract, and he will receive $25 M of that money for next season. But, Greinke has an opt-out clause after the 2015 season, and apparently there is some worry that he might exercise that clause. But, that clause would also be a big red warning to any team considering a deal, as paying full value to get him could result in only a single season from him. Playing devil’s advocate, a
|Greinke deal could certainly help shore up the massive hole the Dodgers' have at shortstop, and/or get the front-line catcher they hope to have behind the plate for 4/5 of the time next season - whenever someone other than Clayton Kershaw is the starter. But, there are other, better options to fill those spots than dealing away one of the game's very best, who has been under appreciated in a rotation that features Kershaw.||
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While Lester a few season back earned the reputation as a big game pitcher, especially in the post season – the very thing that has escaped Kershaw – he did not show that last season, getting clobbered for six earned runs in six innings in the one-game wild card playoff. Overall for the season, Greinke (17-8, 2.71 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 207 Ks in 202 innings) and Lester (16-11, 2.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 220 Ks in 219 innings) compiled very similar numbers, and as far a age is concerned, Lester is three months younger than Greinke.
Other rumors have been around since the end of the season that say the free-spending Dodgers will be reeling in the riches this offseason, and for the first time want to see the payroll reduced, even to the point of slipping under the $200 Million mark. So, is there a way to sign Lester WITHOUT dumping Greinke’s contract? Signing Lester would certainly require a very similar payout as is Greinke’s, with reports that the Cubs have offered Lester $138 M for six years.
Supposedly Lester wants to have a deal in place by the end of the weekend. If Dodgers’ management does want to economize, would they risk signing Lester now and then try to deal Greinke?
My guess is that if they do want Lester, they will do their best to sign him, and let the payroll increase again. After all, the Dodgers are the best team money can buy.