2013 Dodgers in Review #30: SP Zack Greinke

90topps_zackgreinke2.63 ERA / 3.23 FIP 177.2 IP 7.5 K/9 2.3 BB/9 (A-)

2013 in brief: Might have made some noise in the Cy Young vote had Carlos Quentin not assaulted him.

2014 status: Still under contract for the rest of time.

******

With all that happened in Zack Greinke‘s debut season as a Dodger, it seems that absolutely no one remembers just how terrified we were when it began. No, not the huge contract, which we loved, or the opt-out, which I really had no problem with at all, and certainly not three days into camp, when we learned about how engaged he was in scouting Corey Seager when he was with Milwaukee.

No, it was early in March, when we started hearing that Greinke’s right elbow was giving him trouble. He was scratched from a March 11 start, then when he returned two weeks later, he didn’t exactly give everyone a lot of confidence by looking terrible.

Miraculously, he was declared ready for the season, and he threw 6.1 perfect innings in his debut against the Pirates. Okay, he didn’t, but…

But most of all, there was Zack Greinke, throwing six and a third perfect innings in his Dodger debut before allowing a hit to McCutchen. Lest you be eager to point out a potential mistake and note that Garrett Jones actually had a single in the second inning, let me remind you how that play actually went down…

…and so I stand by my statement. Greinke went 92 pitches, striking out six, in what was known to be an outing where he’d have a bit of a leash on him after his abbreviated spring.

So with Greinke and Clayton Kershaw leading the way, everything was puppies and roses, especially when he looked good over five innings against San Diego his next time out and… oh… oh no. Damn you, Carlos Quentin.

You know what happened, and so I’m not going to regurgitate it here. Greinke had surgery, but was back on a mound for a rehab stint in less than a month, on May 10. Needless to say, we were terrified:

Considering that the original diagnosis for Greinke was around eight weeks, or mid-to-late June, this would be a phenomenally quick recovery. Is it too soon? I don’t know, and neither do you; we aren’t doctors and don’t know the specifics of his health. We’ve heard that he’s already thrown two bullpen sessions of 60 pitches where he’s reached 90 MPH, and that all sounds great.

My hope, however, is that he’s nearly ready to come back because he’s nearly ready, and not because the team has lost seven games in a row. We’ve seen that be attempted and fail far too many times — looking at you, Matt Kemp from last year — and it’s the last thing this club needs.

Greinke returned on May 15, and… it wasn’t good. In his first four starts, he allowed at least four runs four times. His velocity was down. There were quiet reports indicating that he had absolutely come back so quickly mostly because the team was in such sad shape. There were flashes, like when he threw six scoreless on June 6 against the Braves, but it was mostly about inconsistency. In four starts from June 16 to July 3 — remember, this is when things started going wonderfully for the team — he allowed four or more earned runs three times. And, of course, he was a primary participant in the June 12 brawl with Arizona.

But on July 8, he went into Arizona and shut out the Diamondbacks over seven innings. His next time out, he shut out the Rockies on two hits… and then shut down the Nationals on one run over six innings… and he’d kicked off a run where over his final 16 starts of the season, he allowed more than two earned runs once.

Why? Well, it helped that the velocity came back:

greinke_2013-velocity

…but I found it fascinating that he was seemingly doing it without his best pitch, though that ended up changing as the season went on. Over the second half of the season, his K/BB was 80/19; only Kershaw and Ubaldo Jimenez topped his 1.85 ERA. Oh, and he merely hit .328/.409/.379 in 72 plate appearances, contributing 1.2 WAR on offense alone. Yeah, he was that good.

Greinke kept up his run in the playoffs, striking out 17 against just two walks in three starts, and I know I can’t wait to see what a full season from him might bring. There’s so much risk in these nine figure deals, especially for pitchers, and when you can look back one year in and say “yep, I’d do that deal again 10 times out of 10,” that’s a nice place to be.

******

Next! Chris Capuano‘s weird year!

1471 comments
itsthatguywhodoesstuff
itsthatguywhodoesstuff

So my friend is out at a bar and Yasiel Puig is there celebrating his birthday. According to my friend his english is excellent, he's actually a nice/ humble guy and he is awful at trying to pick up women. I will give updates as the night goes on.

DodgersFan
DodgersFan

 The song "Are You Gonna be my Girl" by Jet I've hated for awhile now, but I have to give it credit for introducing me to Iggy years ago, given how awfully it ripped off "Lust for Life"

P_F_P
P_F_P

I'm not the biggest fan of A.J. Burnett but I think he'd accept a slightly more lucrative version of Haren's contract and fangraphs projects him for a 3.14 FIP and 3.8 WARP in 2014.

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

Someone give him an Academy Award for that acting job he did on the Mariners.

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

Awww... poor Yasi & the women.

Lobo
Lobo

@ JohnM Unrelated, but fuck yeah, Random Access Memories got nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys and Get Lucky is up for Record of the Year

Tired Math Cat
Tired Math Cat

@Catfishin I don't care about Garaza's stats. I will lead the hate on Garza team if he becomes a Dodger. 

Jobu
Jobu

Dodgers should sign TANAKA

Jobu
Jobu

Nooooooooooooooo

Tired Math Cat
Tired Math Cat

@Catfishin there's some pun about his name being darling and that idea being horrible that I'm too tired to make right now. 

Barney G
Barney G

Darling has no knowledge of the Dodger depth charts. I'd rather see Zach Lee take the fifth spot.

Lobo
Lobo

@LA_Woman Possibly the only good thing Pitbull has ever done, introducing me to this song by sampling it

Jobu
Jobu

The pitcher market stinks but for TANAKA so if we can't get him, forget about trying for anyone else. Of course, that's why I'd go all out for TANAKA

Barney G
Barney G

If they can't sign him, then they should just stick to inhouse options.

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@Drian8890 and he's a douchebag...making fun of Hanley's rib injury during the NLCS broadcast.

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

Yeah, I was going to say: please no photo unless Yasi is okay with it.

Lobo
Lobo

@capnsparrow @Lobo @ JohnM Hey, anything to get more press and popularity for Daft Punk.  Yeah the Grammys are shit but winning Album or Record of the Year would be a huge win for Daft Punk

Duck Dodgers
Duck Dodgers

I think AJ Burnett said he would retire rather than sign with a West Coast team as his wife is scare of flying and wants to stay on the east to be close to her family.  That was the reason why AJ invoke his no trade clause to the Angels when he was a Yankee.

P_F_P
P_F_P

@Lobo @PacoForPresidente2028 Well, Haren only got a base salary of 10, that's not too large of a discrepancy. (And, IMO, would be worth it, if he wanted one last hurrah on a team that could contend for a title and Pitt wouldn't be interested in him at that price.)

Lobo
Lobo

@PacoForPresidente2028 @Lobo I would not at all be opposed to signing him, I just think you're wrong that he'll only get a contract slightly more than Haren got.  I would expect at least 15 million

DodgersFan
DodgersFan

 @Lobo @LA_Woman i feel the same way about "blurred lines". Only reason I found Got to give it up by Marvin gaye was because of how horribly blurred lines ripped it off.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

@Jobu Our ball is bigger and harder to make move plus its slicker and harder to get a grip on

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@Jobu definitely 25, I doubt he tops 30, but I wouldn't complain if he did...maybe the 15.8 is closer to what I've seen, it's just been a while since I looked a the number and I thought it had an 8 in it.

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@Jobu but still 20 million dollars total....So, if they were looking at 90 million over 6 years, which seems crazy for a player who doesn't have the MLB track record (a 'prospect'?), the posting fee puts it at 110 million total. that 20 million still seems significant, even if it doesn't count against the luxury tax.

Jobu
Jobu

Not really the pip sqweeks teams can't really make 100 million offers, so while they can be invited to the ball, the chance of winning the crown remains dim

Barney G
Barney G

Right it would be 20 million and every team who posts that fee can negotiate with him like a regular free agent. That would drive up Tanaka's price. Under the old system, the player had to settle for less because he could only negotiate with one team.

Jobu
Jobu

Yes but that doesn't count against luxury tax

Jobu
Jobu

I'm pretty sure it would top 25, I don't know how close to 30 he'd get. Plus I thought Kersh was projected at 15.8 for arbitration

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@Jobu I thought Kershaw was projected to get something like 18 million in arb. this winter? You really think his AAV will top 30 million in an extension?

Barney G
Barney G

The problem is that Kershaw might not want to negotiate during the season.

Jobu
Jobu

Not if it's over 6 years, I'd be in favor of that

Barney G
Barney G

If the Yankees offer him 100 million, then the Dodgers should back off. Tanaka is good, but that's too much money for a pitcher that's never pitched here.

Jobu
Jobu

Actually, it might make sense to do arbitration with Kershaw and then sign an extension near the end of next season. His AAV on an extension will be twice what his arbitration would be

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@capnsparrow @Jobu even without Tanaka, I think our rotation looks like it will be fine...I'd rather they get a deal with Kershaw done before tying up 100 million on Tanaka.

Jobu
Jobu

That splitter is just amazing, it just disappears at the last second, that's why he is scouted as having a possible two slot ceiling,

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

@Jobu I would really like to see how our ball come out of his hand and see if he can make it move though. But he does look like he can pitch here

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@Drian8890 homegrown like wainright, beltran, HOlliday...urghh, I don't want to re-live all of that. 

Barney G
Barney G

The TBS coverage did suck. I kept getting the feeling that they were biased against the Dodgers with all the praise they kept giving the Cardinals. They just kept going on and on about the Cardinals homegrown talent and the Dodgers' big payroll.

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@Drian8890 It was brief and didn't drag out, but he was trying to tell some story about how tough mike matheny is, then made a joking reference to Hanley's injury. 

Barney G
Barney G

I actually missed that. Maybe he's still bitter after the Dodgers beat his Mets in the 1988 NLCS.