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Zack Greinke Undecided On Future

Zack Greinke Undecided On Future

Six-time All-Star Zack Greinke is still mulling whether he’ll continue his career in 2024, Royals general manager J.J. Picollo told Jon Morosi of at this week’s GM Meetings. The former Cy Young winner and likely Hall of Famer turned 40 in October.

Greinke has spent the past two seasons pitching with Kansas City — the same team that drafted and developed him. It’s been a full-circle homecoming and feel-good story for a lot of Royals fans, though the 2023 season didn’t go nearly as well as the 2022 campaign. In Greinke’s return to K.C. back in ’22, he tossed 137 innings of 3.68 ERA ball. That earned run average spiked to 5.06 over the life of 142 1/3 innings in 2023 — a season that saw Greinke post a 2-15 record. That mark has as much to do with a dismal Royals roster as it does with Greinke’s overall performance, but it surely wasn’t what Greinke envisioned heading into the year.

A return for his age-40 season afford Greinke the chance to reach at least one major milestone. He’s currently sitting at 2979 strikeouts in his career, and while he’s not the prolific strikeout artist he once was, he’d have no issue getting to 3000 if he returned for another full season. He’d become just the 20th pitcher in Major League history to reach that esteemed mark.

At this stage of his career, it’s not clear whether Greinke would have an appetite for pitching anywhere other than in Kansas City. He reportedly turned down similar, if not larger offers from the Twins and Tigers in the 2021-22 offseason, preferring to go back home to where his career began. He wasn’t connected to any other teams last offseason before returning to the Royals on another one-year deal. Greinke earned a $13MM base salary with the Royals in 2022 and an $8.5MM base last year — though he picked up another $4.5MM of incentives based on his innings total. Presumably, he’d be in line for a lesser base salary if he opts to return, though an agreement could have a similar incentives package based on starts and/or innings pitched.

From a team vantage point, bringing Greinke back to soak up some innings and give fans a few more memories could make sense. The Royals have struggled immensely to develop pitchers. Their vaunted crop of college arms from the 2018-20 draft classes simply hasn’t panned out to date, with only Brady Singer finding a full season’s worth of above-average production at any point. That came in 2022, but Singer took a pronounced step…

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