One week after the news first broke, the Arizona Diamondbacks officially introduced their new $200 million man Zack Greinke in front of a packed media contingency at Chase Field.
“We were minutes away from going to a different team,” Greinke said with a smile referencing his decision to nearly re-sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. “It was that close.”
The 32-year-old right-hander agreed to a six-year deal after finishing as the 2015 National League Cy Young runner-up with the Dbacks’ National League West rival. His dominating season included 30 quality starts and a MLB-best 1.66 ERA, the lowest in baseball since Greg Maddux’s 1.63 clip in 1995.
“We liked our position players going forward,” Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa explained about Arizona’s off-season approach. “We felt like with our young arms that a rotation leader is the number one thing that could really help us…we’re in debt to our ownership. [Friday] would not have happened if Ken [Kendrick] would not have stepped forward and made it happen.”
Greinke believes Arizona is not only set up for immediate success but could be a force in the National League with core players like Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, new starter Shelby Miller and others under contract for several more years in the desert.
In 10 career starts at Chase Field, Greinke is 6-2 with a 3.34 ERA (23 ER in 62.0 IP) and .263 opponents average with 58 strikeouts and 19 walks. Last season, he tossed 15.0 scoreless frames over two starts at Chase Field.
“We were looking for a true number one [starter], a true leader of the staff,” La Russa said. “That would take the ball on Opening Day and every time in the toughest game he’d want to be the guy out there.”