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Should the SF Giants take a flyer on a longtime nemesis?

Codey Larsen
World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game Four
World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game Four / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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The SF Giants opened up the second offseason by inking Carlos Rodón to a two-year, $44 million deal which would lead many to think they have all of their boxes checked in the starting rotation. However, is there still work to be done?

Should the SF Giants take a flyer on a longtime nemesis?

Zack Greinke is all about winning, and doing whatever it takes to get an advantage. Just take this quote from 2009, for example:

""I like guacamole. Now, I don’t really love it. They [Chipotle] changed their guacamole from $1.50 to $1.80. I mean, $1.50 is already pretty high. So they changed it to $1.80, and I’ll never get guac. It’s not about the guac itself, I just didn’t want them to win."

Zack Greinke

As of this writing, there are 25 days remaining until Opening Day, which not even three days ago seemed like an albatross of a concept. The Giants were one of the fastest teams to make a transaction once the window opened, inking Rodón to a two-year pact.

The rotation, although on the outside seems complete, might need a little more depth. Some in-house candidates exist from Tyler Beede to Caleb Baragar, but if Zaidi were to continue looking outside the organization, there is still quite a bit of meat on the bone that would be available for what the Giants still seek; depth, dependency, and experience. Off the top of my head, some other names could be Brett Anderson, Zach Davies, Chris Archer, Matthew Boyd, or even Danny Duffy.

The name I am going to focus on today is Greinke. He checks all three boxes: he would be able to provide depth the Giants need, be dependent at a moment's notice and even eat innings out of the bullpen, and he has started and pitched effectively in Game 7 of the World Series, so he definitely has experience a team like the Giants would crave during the long haul of a regular season and if/when the playoffs come around.

Greinke will be 38 on Opening Day, so he is not by any means a spring chicken. For comparison, pitching coach Andrew Bailey is 37, assistant pitching coach J.P Martinez is 39, and just to make you feel old, bench coach Kai Correa is 33. For how good Greinke has consistently been throughout his career, it does make you double-check when you realize he has played for six different teams-the Giants would make seven.

Greinke relied heavily on his 4-seam fastball in 2021, throwing it 39% of the time, but also works in a changeup, curveball, slider, and the occasional sinker. Being that Greinke is 38, it doesn't come as a surprise that his average fastball clocked in at 88 mph, which is just two mph above his average changeup.

From 2013-to 2019, Greinke was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He had an ERA of 2.90 with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Astros. His last two years, however, were cause for caution, showing how much he may be slowing down, posting an ERA over 4.00 in Houston. One of those seasons, of course, was a truncated 60 game season with a very limited sample size.

Zack Greinke
Division Series - Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox - Game Three / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

An addition of Greinke could help mentor young Logan Webb, while also installing valuable innings on the field as well. A contract for Greinke will likely be in the range of $10M-$17M for just a single year, which would be very manageable for a cash cow organization like the Giants. (One little note as well: Greinke is represented by Excel Sports Management- the same agency that represents Brandon Belt and Joey Bart).

One last note, the aforementioned durably will be a huge benefit for the club. Here is a look at the Giants current rotation with their average starts per season throughout their career (Logan Webb's sample size is too small for this exercise).

Carlos Rodon: 15-17
Alex Cobb: 15-17
Anthony DeSclafani: 21
Alex Wood: 18

Now, compare that to Greinke, who from age 31 thru 37 seasons averaged 28 starts per year.

There is never such thing as too much pitching, and for the Giants, I believe that Greinke would be a nice addition to help bandage any future problems the Giants rotation may occur. Regardless, the end of the work stoppage means it's time to get to work before Opening Day which is quite figuratively around the corner.

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