KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)The Kansas City Royals finalized Zack Greinke’s $8.5 million contract for the upcoming season on Friday, bringing back a well-known and veteran arm to their otherwise young starting rotation.
The deal for the 39-year-old right-hander includes up to $7.5 million in performance bonuses. He made $13 million with the Royals last season, when he went 3-9 with a 3.68 ERA while allowing two runs or fewer in 17 of 26 starts.
Greinke began his career in Kansas City as a first-round pick in the 2002 amateur draft. And after fits and starts, and nearly walking away from baseball early in his professional career, he flashed onto the scene two years later, beginning a 20-year career that has included time with the Brewers, Angels, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Astros.
It was largely his affinity for then-general manager Dayton Moore that led him to return to Kansas City, where he pitched well last season despite two stints on the injured list. Moore was fired late in the season, though, and it was the new GM J.J. Picollo – one of Moore’s longtime lieutenants – who decided to bring Grienke back this season.
To make room on the roster, the Royals designated left-hander Anthony Misiewicz for assignment.
Greinke won the AL Cy Young Award in 2009 in his penultimate season in his first stint in Kansas City. He was later traded to the Brewers for a package of players that helped to form the backbone of back-to-back American League pennant teams and the club that won the 2015 World Series.
Greinke went on to have plenty of success in his own right, though. He twice helped the Astros to the World Series, pitched for the Brewers and Dodgers in the NL Championship Series and led the Diamondbacks to the playoffs.
He is first among active pitchers with 514 career starts and 3,247 innings pitched, and he’s second to Justin Verlander with 223 win. Greinke is also third in strikeouts (2,882) and has six Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards.
The Royals had been quiet much of the offseason but have been busy in the weeks leading up to spring training.
They recently traded starting outfielder Michael A. Taylor to the Twins and injury-prone shortstop Adalberto Mondesi to the Red Sox, netting three pitching prospects in the deals. They also signed reliever Aroldis Chapman to a $3.75 million deal for 2023 in the hopes the seven-time All-Star can bounce back from a disappointing season with the Yankees.
Earlier in the offseason, the Royals signed pitchers Ryan Yarbrough and Jordan Lyles. Both of them are candidates for the starting rotation, though especially after Greinke’s signing, Yarbrough’s value most likely lies in the bullpen.
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