The Dodgers were kicked out of the playoffs yesterday after dropping game five of the NLDS to the New York Mets, and in the immediate aftermath, it appears as if Zack Greinke will be exercising his opt-out clause.
"Greinke will opt out of a contract that has $71 million over three years remaining, according to sources, and one GM suggested he should get multiple offers for $125 million over five years, at a minimum, with the likely winning bid at about $150 million over five years, or perhaps even more."
While Heyman's source suggests that he'll receive plenty of offers for $125 million, that seems low considering that Jon Lester was able to secure $155 million going into his age 31 season, while Max Scherzer was able to get $210 million going into his age 30 season; and neither of those pitchers posted an ERA near 1.66.
If Greinke doesn't win the Cy Young award, he'll undoubtedly finish in the top three, and over the past three seasons, he's posted an ERA of 2.30, an FIP of 2.97, and a cumulative fWAR of 13.7. He's been worth $105.2 million since 2013, and he should have no problem securing another highly lucrative deal.
According to Heyman "several more big-market and other teams are expected to be in the hunt for top starting pitching, including the rival Giants plus the Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Tigers, Diamondbacks, Phillies, Marlins, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Braves, Rangers (and more)."
Greinke and his agent will be able to play the interested teams off one another in an attempt to squeeze out every last dollar. Heyman notes that the Dodgers still have a good chance at retaining him, but it's fair to wonder how much money their new front office will be willing to commit to him. Alongside Clayton Kershaw, they'll have a supposedly healthy Hyun-jin Ryu, eventually Brandon McCarthy, and potentially even Julio Urias.
There are going to be a lot of pitchers on the free agent market this year, and the Dodgers don't necessarily have to bring Greinke back. They could choose to pursue lower cost options like Mike Leake, Scott Kazmir, John Lackey, Yovani Gallardo, or Jordan Zimmermann, to name a few.
While it remains to be see how Greinke's situation will play out, it's undoubtedly the right call for him to exercise his opt-out clause. There's no question that he'll be able to sign a deal worth more than $71 million, and in all likelihood, he should be able to add at least $80 million on top of what he was guaranteed over the next three years.