In one of the most surprising free-agent deals in recent memory, the Arizona Diamondbacks have reportedly signed former Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke to the most lucrative contract in baseball history. The right-hander agreed to a six-year deal worth $206 million, according to sources.
The Diamondbacks were not expected to compete for Greinke, who along with David Price was considered the prize free agent of the winter. In 2015, the Diamondbacks had the third lowest payroll ($76.6 million) in the majors, according to figures compiled by sportrac.com. The highest paid player on the Diamondbacks last season was infielder Aaron Hill at $12 million.
At an average of over $34.3 million a season, Greinke will be paid higher than Price, who on Friday officially agreed to a seven-year deal with the Boston Red Sox at $217 million, or $31 million a year. Price is two years younger than Greinke.
Greinke is coming off the best season of his career. The Florida native finished with an MLB-leading 1.66 earned-run average and a 19-3 record. He also led the majors in WHIP (0.84). During one stretch of the season, Greinke threw 45 2/3 scoreless innings. The 32-year-old is among the best hitting pitchers, and is very good defensively.
He opted out of his contract with the Dodgers after three seasons, after agreeing to a six-year deal worth$147 million in 2012. The Dodgers and San Francisco Giants were considered favorites to sign the veteran.
Greinke began his MLB career in 2004, and owns 142-93 record, and a 3.34 ERA. He started his career with the Kansas City Royals, and spent time with the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels.
In other news, the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a two-year, $32-million deal with former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher John Lackey, according to reports. The deal is contingent on Lackey passing a physical. In 2015, Lackey had a 2.77 ERA in 218 innings. The 37-year-old right-hander had a 3.82 ERA in 2014 with the Red Sox and Cardinals, and 3.60 ERA in 2013 with Boston.
Johnny Cueto, who was a member of the World Series champion Kansas City Royals, is considered the most coveted remaining free-agent pitcher on the market. The 29-year-old is expected to receive a long-term contract over $100 million.