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Will Zack Greinke opt out after 2015?

7/16/2014

Interesting tidbit from Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, regarding Zack Greinke, who has an opt-out clause in his contract after 2015:

"What happens with (Jon) Lester and (Max) Scherzer will say a lot," Greinke said at Monday’s All-Star festivities.

Greinke, 30, would forfeit three years and $71 million if he opts out of his contract, presumably in the hope of securing a longer and more lucrative guarantee. If he plays out his Dodgers contract, he would not be eligible for free agency until age 35.

Greinke said he has noticed teams increasingly reluctant to pay veteran pitchers for past performance and increasingly willing to pay younger pitchers on projected rather than proven excellence.

"They're paying more for future performance," Greinke said.

Greinke's deal with the Dodgers would total six years and $147 million if he plays it out. But considering Lester and Scherzer will both easily top $100 million and maybe approach $150 million as free agents, you can see Greinke's thought process. Lester is 30 and Scherzer turns 30 next month. Greinke would turn 32 after the 2015 season, so he's a couple years older than those guys. Still, there's a big difference in how teams would value a 32-year-old pitcher versus a 35-year-old.

Facing the possibility of losing Greinke -- or having to negotiate a new deal -- does that make it more likely the Dodgers will be interested in David Price? Why not ride a Clayton Kershaw-Price-Greinke trio for 2014 and 2015 while all three are at the peak of their abilities? Yes, you'd have to give up a highly regarded prospect -- Joc Pederson or Corey Seager -- to acquire Price, but remember: This Dodgers team hasn't won anything yet. Worrying about the future is nice but making your team better for the present is nice as well.

Jim Bowden wrote today how the Price trade timeline is in doubt until the Rays are clearly finished. I still see the Dodgers as the front-runners to acquire him and this Greinke news would only seem to make that more likely.