Royals sign Greinke through 2012
I have the honor of filling in on the Royals beat this week for the great Dick Kaegel, which means I got the call this morning when Kansas City announced it had signed starter Zack Greinke to a four-year, $38 million contract through 2012. It took about three seconds to realize this was bad news for the Tigers.
Check out the splits: Eight of Greinke’s 34 career wins have come against the Tigers, and his 3.19 earned run average versus Detroit is more than a full run under his 4.28 ERA overall. Magglio Ordonez is just 4-for-27 lifetime off Greinke, while Curtis Granderson went 0-for-8 against him last year.
That said, the deal is great news when you consider where Greinke was three years ago, sitting at home, having left spring training, and not sure if he wanted to play baseball again. Once he got some help, he was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Before you brush that off, read what he said today at his press conference about where his mind was (boldface inserted by me for emphasis):
“When I left, I didn’t realize there was a cure for what I had, where I just hated being around people. I just love baseball, and I was going to get a job where I didn’t have to be around people all the time. Mainly mowing grass was my goal, to start up a good lawn-mowing business and just do that. But [then-manager] Buddy Bell and [former GM] Allard [Baird] really helped me out a lot in that time. They sent me to someone to just talk to me. The psychologist figured out that it was pretty simple how I could change what I was thinking and feeling in those situations.
“Every Major League team is always going to do what’s best for them, but it was awesome. They could’ve easily pushed me aside, or just helped me get back and then dump me off whenever they could get something for me. But they did everything they could and bent over backwards for me from the beginning. Even when we switched from Allard to Dayton [Moore], it might not have been his first priority, but to me, he made it seem like his first priority, to make sure that he knew how to handle my situation and what I was going through.”
Now you understand why this is a pretty good story, even if it isn’t good news at all for the Tigers. You can check out the video of the press conference at nbcactionnews.com.
By the way, if the contract terms sound familiar, they’re the exact same terms of the contract Jeremy Bonderman signed a couple years ago. Like Bonderman at that time, Greinke was a couple years away from free agency, and there were rumblings whether the Royals might consider trading Greinke if they couldn’t get a deal done this winter.