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Zack Greinke looks to cash in by opting out

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The Los Angeles right-hander can opt out of his contract after 2015 and chase a lucrative free agent deal.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

When Zack Greinke signed a six-year, $147 million deal with the Dodgers prior to the 2013 season, there was included in the deal an opt-out option for him after 2015.

If Greinke does not take the opt out, he will make $71 million in three seasons from 2016 through 2018.

However, Greinke has been excellent in his three seasons in Los Angeles, posting a 2.34 ERA in 545⅓ innings, with a 1.05 WHIP and 505 strikeouts. That kind of performance could put the 31-year-old in line for a contract similar to the seven-year, $210 million contract Max Scherzer signed with the Nationals prior to this season.

Given the kind of financial windfall that could be headed Greinke's way, it is safe to assume that he will exercise his opt-out and become a free agent after the season. With that in mind, which teams might sign the league leader in ERA come the offseason?

It is going to take a team with a big budget to sign Greinke, and no team has a bigger budget that his current club, the Dodgers. Not only does Los Angeles have the highest payroll in major league history this season, they also have quite a bit of money coming off of that payroll after 2015, so even if he does opt out, the Dodgers would have to be considered the favorites to retain Greinke's services.

Another team that is starved for pitching but not so much for cash is the New York Yankees. Aside from Masahiro Tanaka, most of the Yankees' rotation has battled either with injury or ineffectiveness. While New York does have CC Sabathia's rather hefty contract on the books for 2016 and perhaps 2017, they have certainly showed the ability to take on salary if it means winning.

A third option for Greinke could mean staying in Los Angeles but switching leagues. He pitched part of 2012 with the Angels, a team that has not been shy about giving out large free agent contracts and could stand to improve its rotation.

Regardless of where he ends up, Greinke is going to be a very rich man in 2016 and beyond.