The Royals have reached an agreement on a one-year contract to bring back veteran starter Zack Greinke, according to Bob Fescoe of 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand hears that the deal will be worth $8M-$10M in base salary, plus performance-based bonuses.
Greinke began his professional career with the Royals way back in 2002 as the No. 6 overall pick in that year’s MLB Draft. He made his big league debut in KC in 2004 and spent his first seven seasons there, highlighted by an AL Cy Young Award winner in 2009. Following successful stints with the Brewers, Angels, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Astros between 2011-2021, the eccentric right-hander returned to his old stomping grounds in 2022 and worked to a 3.68 ERA in 26 starts covering 137 innings.
His paltry 4.8 K/9 last year was a career-low and ranked as the worst K/9 of all 90 major league pitchers who logged at least 130 innings over the course of the 2022 regular season. But the 39-year-old showed terrific control (1.8 BB/9) and was generally able to induce more soft contact than hard contact to help pave over his diminished swing-and-miss stuff. Among the 585 total batters he faced during the 2022 campaign, Greinke surrendered only 14 home runs. That worked out to a 0.92 HR/9, putting him right around rising studs like Nestor Cortes, Logan Gilbert, Ranger Suarez and George Kirby.
Greinke can hopefully again serve as an innings-eater and clubhouse mentor for a Royals rotation that has undergone a few offseason changes but will still be relying on a lot of youth pushing forward. Brady Singer, 26, stands out as somebody who made significant gains in 2022, perhaps thanks in part to Greinke’s tutelage. Brad Keller, 27, and Daniel Lynch, 27, could use a similar type of molding.
Greinke figures to be named the Opening Day starter for the Royals in 2023, as he was last year. Singer and Keller project to fall in somewhere behind him, along with newcomers Jordan Lyles and Ryan Yarbrough. Kansas City finished 27th among all 30 teams in combined starter ERA (4.76) in 2022, despite Greinke’s contributions and Singer’s mini-breakout. KC’s combined starter K/9 of 6.9 ranked 28th.
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