Another pitcher has fallen off the free agency board, as the Diamondbacks came out of nowhere to win the sweepstakes for 2009 AL Cy Young Winner, Zach Greinke, who signed a 6-year, $206.6 million contract with the Arizona.
As the race came down to the wire, it seemed that the Giants and the Dodgers were the last two teams to place pricey bids for the righty. However, Arizona shocked the baseball world and offered Greinke the highest annual rate in Major League history at $34.2 million.
Although this money seems to be ridiculous for a pitcher who plays every five days, the 3-time all star put up some of the best statistics this decade has seen last season.
In 2015, Greinke posted a 1.66 ERA, the lowest in the league, leading him to an impressive 19-3 record. He also struck out 200 batters for the second year in a row using his nasty pitching arsenal.
As pitchers like Greinke, David Price and Jordan Zimmerman have singed massive contracts, others like Johnny Cueto and Ian Kennedy are on pace for big contracts as well.
Contenders are looking for starting pitchers to fill their rotations, and they are slowly seeing the last handful of ace-caliber starters sign contracts with more proactive teams.
Even starters who seem to be a Plan B for most teams, such as Marco Estrada, who signed back with the Blue Jays, or John Lackey, who was added to the already deep Chicago Cubs rotation last week, have made early decisions.
Teams like the Orioles, Nationals and Mariners, who have a weak back-end of their rotation, should start to make a move on the last of the pitchers on the board, or they will miss out on getting back into the race in their respective competitive divisions.
The price of Zach Greinke has transformed the rest of the pitching market, and it will be an interesting arms race the rest of the way to see who will offer the most money to the remaining mid-level starters.
It should make for an interesting rest of the free agent period seeing how much teams will pay for the rest of these middle of the rotation starters, knowing how quickly the market is playing out when compared to previous years.
By: Corey Goldstein