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Monday, November 26, 2012
Are SoCal teams driving up the price on Zack Greinke?

By Mark Saxon

It looks more and more like pitcher Zack Greinke could be headed for a record payday and the Dodgers and Angels seem to be pushing the market up and up. Or, at least that's the perception around baseball, no doubt fueled by Greinke's representatives.

The Angels might have the most to lose. The Dodgers might have the most to give.

The team in Anaheim backed itself into this corner by letting a couple of veterans go, trading Ervin Santana to Kansas City and declining an option on Dan Haren. The Dodgers are in the midst of negotiating a multi-billion-dollar new TV deal and have proven they’re willing to overpay in an effort to ramp up quickly to World Series contention.

These developments are very, very good news for Greinke and his agents, obviously. Look for his camp to be the center of attention at next week’s winter meetings and for the drama to drag on all week and, perhaps, beyond. The Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals have also been linked to Greinke.

Thus far, no one has reported that any team has made Greinke a formal offer, but some people think his eventual deal could be in the neighborhood of $150 million for six years. If he gets that much, it would be a record haul for a right-handed pitcher and would exceed the per-season record held by Cole Hamels of $24 million.

Zack Greinke, good pitcher, certainly a more appealing option than any of the second-tier starters such as Anibal Sanchez or Kyle Lohse. But  Zack Greinke, highest-paid pitcher in baseball? He's been good, but hardly among the elite of the elite since 2009.

As usual, it’s about what the market can bear and, thanks to conditions in Southern California, it appears quite sturdy under Greinke this winter.