The Kansas City Royals and 38-year-old pitcher Zack Greinke agreed to a one-year contract worth $13 million for the 2022 season. Per Ken Rosenthal, the veteran right-hander can also earn incentives up to $2 million.
Greinke began his professional baseball career in the Royals organization when they drafted him with the sixth overall pick in the 2002 MLB Draft. The 18-year-old had just been named the 2002 Gatorade National High School Baseball Player of the Year. Greinke cruised through the minor leagues before making his big-league debut in 2004. Greinke played seven years in Kansas City, earning All-Star and Cy Young Award honors in 2009.
The Royals won’t be seeing the mid-90s fastball they remember from the early 2000s version of Greinke. The 18-year MLB veteran pitched most recently with the Houston Astros, employing a four-seam fastball and changeup tandem with eerily similar velocities. He also deploys a slider and curveball at similar rates and will toss an eephus pitch up to the plate on rare occasions.
Because of his propensity to pitch to contact, the Royals defense will have to remain solid behind Greinke. Over the past three seasons, the Royals’ defense has posted the fifth best UZR in baseball. Adalberto Mondesi, Michael A. Taylor, and Whit Merrifield were three of the biggest contributors defensively, and all remain on the Royals’ 2022 squad.
Greinke will join a pitching staff full of young arms. Kris Bubic, Brady Singer, and Daniel Lynch earned a bulk of the innings in 2021. The Royals have other top pitching prospects they’d love to see work with Greinke, including Jackson Kowar, Austin Cox, Asa Lacy, and others.
Zack Greinke is 38 years old, on a one-year deal, and back where it all began. Might this be the end of a Hall of Fame career?
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)