Write this day down in your diary - not that I need to, since it's also my mother's birthday - but it seems highly likely this will be the day that defines the La Russa/Stewart era, and possibly even the Ken Kendrick era as well. That could be for good or ill, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works out as well as the last time the Arizona Diamondbacks signed a grumpy, free-agent ace starter. On that occasion, which will be 17 years ago next Thursday., it was Randy Johnson who arrived in Phoenix, heralding an era of three division title in four years, peaking with the 2001 World Series championship, still the only title won by an Arizona team in the big four sports.
So, Greinke has some rather large shoes, in which to follow in the footsteps. But it's clear that ownership, along with CBO Tony La Russa and GM Tony Stewart, have decided that the next few seasons represent the team's best chance of success, with an MVP candidate in Paul Goldschmidt, the blossoming of A.J. Pollock and a number of rising young players. The obvious flaw in the roster was the starting pitching, and the arrival of Greinke - the undoubted Opening Day starter in 2016 - has addressed that. But, wait: for the Diamondbacks might not be done yet, because according to Ken Rosenthal (and he appears to know a great deal about the team, based on today!):
ICYMI: #DBacks met with Leake yesterday, still interested in him even after reaching agreement with Greinke, per sources.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2015
Wow. Anyway, let's put that to one side. This contract blows away like a Jupiter storm, any previous free-agent contract signed by the Diamondbacks. While full details are still emerging - in another throwback to the Colangelo era, there are deferrals involved - it appears that the contract is worth $206.5 million over a six-year period, which is more than three times as much as the Arizona Diamondbacks have ever paid a free-agent, shattering into a million pieces the $68.5 million for which Yasmany Tomas signed, a little less than a year ago. As someone Tweeted, it's more per year than the entirety of Paul Goldschmidt's five-year contract.
Mrs. SnakePit will not be happy: she still hasn't forgiven the D-backs for signing Eric Byrnes and Miguel Montero to expensive contracts they failed to live up to, and this is by no means a risk-free investment. Come 2021, we may regret it - though flags fly forever, amIrite? Even now, it is putting a lot of our eggs in one basket: Depends on the break-down, but right now, Greinke represents something about 40% of the Diamondbacks payroll for 2015. That is, it must be said, due in significant part to the youth of the team, with just about everyone cost-controlled. But it's still startling to realize that Greinke may well earn more than every other pitcher on the team put together.
I'll probably get round to figuring out the longer-term financial situation at some point [sorry, Kenta Maeda, that analysis of your potential signing might just have to wait over the weekend]. For now, a quick check of the current D-backs rotation (pending any further moves, naturally), has Greinke as #1, ahead of Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray, with Rubby De La Rosa, Chase Anderson, Archie Bradley and Aaron Blair likely battling for the last two spots. Maybe this will allow the team to move De La Rosa to the bullpen?
But, right now, I'm going out for a celebratory sandwich.