Say this for Zach Greinke: he is not afraid to let people know about his motivations.
Greinke, a starting pitcher who split last season between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels, signed a 6-year, $147 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in December. At the time of the signing, this deal was the second-largest in MLB history among contracts given to pitchers.
And in a rare bit of candid honestly, Greinke left no doubt that money is the biggest reason he will wear Dodger Blue this season.
"I could play for the worst team if they paid the most," Greinke said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "If the last-place team offers $200 million and the first-place team offers $10, I'm going to go for the $200 million no matter what team it was."
Greinke’s admission that he auctioned his services to the highest bidder set message boards ablaze, with many fans writing in to express their outrage. I, for one, am having a lot of difficulty figuring out where Greinke is different from any other athlete and why people think his honesty is so wrong.
Isn’t it time for sports fans to get over the delusion notion that professional athletes are playing for the love of the game? We have over a century of evidence that demonstrates the contrary, be it from gambling scandals to league-jumping to free agency to leveraging value in the draft. Yet people still want to pretend that athletes are only out for the love of the game and that money should not even be an issue.
Well, I have news for these people: it is not a game for professional athletes. It’s how they make a living, and a very lucrative one at that. They work very, very hard at what they do in order to be successful. Saying that professional athletes are only playing a game is like saying that professional mechanics are merely tinkering with cars.
Like Mark Teixeira a couple of weeks ago, Zach Greinke’s admission is not something that should be criticized. Greinke merely did what millions of people in the United States do every year by looking to be paid the most for his services. He is not being critical of the Dodgers or any other team, and unlike another ungrateful free agent from this past offseason, Greinke is certainly not trying to insult the fans.
If anything, Greinke’s admission should be welcomed by fans, who do not have to scoff at yet another athlete pretending that his recent contract was not about the money. I mean, if we want our athletes to be role models, shouldn’t we be encouraging them to be open and honest?