From the “Now You’re Just Piling On” files comes this essential breakdown of an underreported component of Zack Greinke‘s deal with the Dodgers: the 147 million dollar man can opt out of his contract after just three years. Ken Rosenthal does a yeoman’s work pointing out that, yes, the Dodgers might lose Greinke after three years if he thinks he can get a better deal by hitting market again at age 32.
As the Rosengenius suggests, these opt out clauses give undue leverage to players rather than teams. The team either loses a high-performer to the free agent market or are stuck with a player overpaid relative to the market at that moment. The Dodgers do not offer no trade clauses so this less-than-attractive compromise must suffice. Player friendly as it might be, the threat of an opt out won’t phase LA.
As with the CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez opt outs, the most likely scenario for an effective Greinke is the Dodgers bidding against themselves. Unless, of course, those very Yankees come knocking. By 2015, Derek Jeters‘ contract will be off the books and the Yankees just might be in the market for a new arm. They’re the Yankees, they’re always in the market for a new arm.
The Dodgers, however, are so flush with cash that re-upping Greinke when he’s ready won’t bat many eyes at Chavez Ravine. With three years of information on his make-up and ability to pitch in their ballpark, the Dodgers will be able to outbid any team seeking Greinke’s services should they see fit. Unless, of course, they don’t mind losing him.
The Dodgers financial situation provides them the freedom to dip back into the free agent pool if they believe they can do better than the 32-year old Greinke. Or they can just keep laying on incredibly expensive pieces. Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez will be off their books by then, freeing up all new reserves of cash to throw around.
The looming Clayton Kershaw extension will not deter the Dodgers in any way. If the price of signing Zack Greinke through his next three seasons (ostensibly his peak) is a risky opt out clause – so be it. The Dodgers got their man. If they lose him, overpay him for the duration of this contract or extend him with a new one after 2015, it won’t matter to ownership so long as he comes as advertised: a right-handed ace to ride shotgun with their homegrown hero in pursuit of a World Series title (and nothing less.)