On January 26th of this year the Kansas City Royals took a very important step in stabilizing the franchise. They re-signed Zack Greinke to a 4 year, 38 million dollar deal. In doing so they avoided arbitration, but also made a statement. There were cases for and against the deal, the most glaring of which was a lack of long term success. The number 4.
Extending 4 years instead of going through arbitration on a yearly basis sends a message not only to Greinke, but also to everyone else on the roster and around the league. Kansas City may no longer be a place to grow up and move on, the Major League High School.
What is more important is how Greinke has responded to the new deal. He has come out and pitched as well as anyone could have hoped. And he has looked overpowering at times. His start is not the result of taking advantage of poor competition.
And that gets us to the number 1. Zack Greinke is the undisputed number 1 starter on the Royals. He is their ace. He's started 5, and won 5. He gives his team a chance to win the game every time he pitches. He followed up 2 complete games by shutting down a hot Blue Jays offense. If the rotation stays true to form his next 2 starts are against the White Sox and the Angels.
The Royals are tied for 1st in a division that has absolutely no clarity, and due in no small part to Zack Greinke's strong start. Greinke and Meche seemed like a nice idea on paper before the season started, but now it has materialized.
The last 20 game winner in KC was Bret Saberhagen, with 23 in 1989. 20 years ago. They've only had 3 200+ strikeout seasons in their history. Zack Greinke aims to change that, and with the way he has started off the season it is entirely possible he eclipses both marks.
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Written by Joe Coburn