MLB: Dodgers highlight the last 72 hours
Over the weekend and into Monday, the Major League Baseball transaction wire has been in full swing. The fun truly began on Saturday night when reports began to surface that the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitcher Zack Greinke had come to an agreement on a six-year deal. Greinke, 29, was the top pitcher in this year’s free agent market and is a former AL Cy Young winner with the Kansas City Royals in 2009. While the star pitcher has not had a season at that level since then, he is still a very good pitcher who should succeed pitching behind Clayton Kershaw with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers were not finished as less than 24 hours later, the club agreed to another six-year deal, this time with Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers had won exclusive negotiating rights with the left-hander after bidding $25.7 million last month. The deadline for the Dodgers and Ryu to agree on a deal was 2PM PST on Sunday and the deal was made literally at the deadline. If a deal was not reached, Ryu would have returned to his team in South Korea. The 25-year-old is expected to earn a spot in the Dodgers starting rotation this coming season. Ryu’s agent, Scott Boras, compares the pitcher to current Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle.
Sunday evening turned out to produce more fireworks as the Kansas City Royals acquired pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis from the Tampa Bay Rays. In exchange, the Royals gave up a ton, which included top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers. While some may question the Royals for giving up so much, the club is in win now mode. The franchise has struggled for years and now with Shields leading the pitching staff, they have a shot to get back to the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 1985, which of course is the year Greg Isaac was born. Yes, I’m Greg Isaac.
Somebody has a case of the Monday’s! That’s not the Pittsburgh Pirates and hard throwing reliever Jason Grilli though. The Pirates and the 36-year-old right-hander agreed to a two-year deal on Monday. Grilli pitched very well for the Pirates in 2012 and was a hot commodity on the free agent market. Expect the Pirates to dangle closer Joel Hanrahan in a trade for a starting pitcher (perhaps to the Dodgers for Chris Capuano) and for Grilli to become the clubs closer.
With Greinke now off the market, you can expect the dominoes to continue to fall. Free agent starting pitcher’s Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson are among the names to keep an eye on this week. The Texas Rangers, who were interested in both Greinke and Shields could very well turn their attention to one of the pitchers named above, especially Sanchez.
Speaking of the Rangers, in addition to going after another starting pitcher, you can expect star outfielder and former AL MVP Josh Hamilton to return to the Rangers. While other clubs, like the Seattle Mariners are interested in Hamilton, the free agent slugger will take his best offers to the Rangers in order for them to match. With the clubs number one target in Greinke off the market, the Rangers will want to make sure they get Hamilton signed.