Now that the Dodgers' postseason is over, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has reported that Zack Greinke will opt out of his contract with the Dodgers. The contract would pay Greinke $71 million over the next three seasons, but there's no question that he can find a better deal. It remains to be seen if the Dodgers will be able to negotiate a new deal with Greinke, but several teams are expected to be in the hunt for starting pitchers over the offseason, including the Yankees.
For the past few seasons, the Yankees' rotation has been held together with duct tape and bandaids. In 2014, everyone in the Opening Day rotation spent significant time on the disabled list except for Hiroki Kuroda. The 2015 season was very similar, with Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda both missing time with forearm strains, in addition to Nathan Eovaldi missing the last few weeks of the season with elbow inflammation and CC Sabathia suffering from his degenerative knee condition. Not to mention the fact that Ivan Nova missed the first few months of the season finishing up his Tommy John rehab. Adam Warren and Luis Severino were bright spots in the rotation when they filled in for injured players, but it's unclear if there will be a spot for either of them in the rotation next season. Presuming that everyone is healthy when the season starts, the rotation won't have room for Severino unless the Yankees make some trades over the offseason.
Even when everyone in the rotation was healthy, the Yankees' starters didn't necessarily pitch well. Pineda was great early, but his ERA and FIP ballooned in the second half, with his ERA going from 3.60 to 5.80, and his FIP going from 2.69 to 4.61. His strikeout numbers dropped, and he started giving up more home runs. Eovaldi's season was almost the exact opposite of Pineda's. Eovaldi struggled in the first half, but his pitching improved as the season went on and he was able to lower his ERA and FIP in the second half down to 3.67 and 3.10, respectively. It was a rocky season for Nova, and his Tommy John surgery and subsequent rehab could be to blame, but he certainly seemed to get worse as the season went on. The Yankees even pulled him out of the rotation at one point, but had no choice but to put him back in due to injuries. Meanwhile, Sabathia was pretty much terrible until he returned from the disabled list with a new knee brace. Tanaka had a solid season, but he dropped off quite a bit from his 2014 season. There is clearly room for improvement in the rotation, and if the Yankees are looking for a starting pitcher, it would be difficult to find someone much better than Greinke.
After spending the last several years with the Dodgers, Greinke is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. Through 222 and two-thirds innings, Greinke finished the season with 8.08 K/9, 1.62 BB/9, 0.57 HR/9, along with a 1.66 ERA, 2.76 FIP and 0.84 WHIP. He had an even better season than teammate Clayton Kershaw, and is in the running for the NL Cy Young award. If he loses, he'll likely be runner up to Jake Arrieta, who was arguably a little bit better. Greinke is a few days shy of his 32nd birthday, and he will probably end up with a contract worth at least $125 million over five years. Considering the deals that have been handed out to Kershaw, Jon Lester and Max Scherzer recently, that is probably a low estimate. The Yankees avoided signing any of the big free agent pitchers who were available last offseason, so they might be reluctant to spend this kind of money, or to add another long contract to the books, but the rotation would be so much better with Greinke in it. There would only be room for him if they make some trades, though.
Do you think the Yankees should pursue Zack Greinke?