The Cubs are expected to spend money and make a commitment to a free agent starting pitcher. The Cubs began the process during the GM Meetings when the front office met with the agents for David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Jeff Samardzija. And Theo Epstein had a much-publicized meeting with Samardzija this past week.
The Cubs are seen as the favorites to sign David Price. Many throughout the industry think it’s a foregone conclusion the Cubs will add Price with the biggest contract in franchise history to a rotation that already includes Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. But according to Gordon Wittenmyer, the Cubs may prefer the other top free agent starting pitcher on the market. The one that just finished second to Arrieta for the NL Cy Young Award, Zack Greinke.
The Sun-Times reported, “Theo Epstein’s front office already has begun the pursuit of Greinke, a free agent pitcher sources suggest might be more coveted by the team this winter than even the younger David Price, the top left-hander on the market.”
During this time of year there is always conflicting information and Buster Olney reported, “It remains to be seen whether Greinke would venture out of the Dodgers-Giants sphere of influence and whether the Cubs have anything close to the same kind of interest in him as they do in Price, in light of the fact that he’s a couple of years older.”
Some within the game think Zack Greinke will perform better and provide a better value over the course of what will likely be a six-year contract than David Price will throughout the seven-year deal he will likely sign. Greinke will pitch next year at 32 and Price doesn’t turn 31 until August.
Greinke is rather different, speaks his mind but is a student of the game. And some think he could be the closest pitcher of his era to Greg Maddux.
Greinke is obviously coming off a tremendous season. Greinke pitched extremely well over three years with the Dodgers and is one of the true Aces in the game. Greinke was 19-3 in 32 starts with a 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP this past season. And over three years in a Dodgers’ uniform, Greinke was 51-15 in 92 starts with a 2.30 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.
The latest prediction from Jim Bowden has Greinke signing a six-year, $186 million contract which would take him through his age-37 season.
Many of those within the industry that believe Price will sign with the Cubs do not think Greinke will leave the West Coast. Greinke will either re-sign with the Dodgers or move to San Francisco and pitch for the Giants. If he’s not able to sign with either team, moving to the American League does not appear to be an option. He wants to stay in the National League so he can hit. Greinke has gotten past the social anxiety disorder, can pitch in big markets and will follow the money.
Jake Arrieta topped Greinke for the National League Cy Young Award in a final vote that was not as close as many thought it would be. And Arrieta was asked about the possibility of Greinke pitching for the Cubs.
“I would assume that a phone call might be made, at least,” Arrieta said. “We’d love to have him.”
“Greinke is a guy that any team would be lucky to have. He’s going to be a commodity that a lot of teams are looking to add to their rotation. Just watching from the other side for a number of years, seeing what he’s been able to do, year-in and year-out, is very admirable,” Arrieta said. “Any team that doesn’t at least make a phone call would be foolish.”
As the front office continues to explore all options to acquire pitching, it’s safe to say the level of the Cubs interest in Zack Greinke is unclear at this point of the process.