Last Friday the Diamondbacks shocked MLB by signing coveted free agent pitcher Zack Greinke to a record contract, so we look at how his former team, the Dodgers, can remain competitive against the MLB odds.
Greinke will join Arizona on a six-year contract worth $206.5 million. The deal will pay him around $34.4 million per season, which is easily the largest contract in MLB history as far as average annual value is concerned.
The Diamondbacks came out of nowhere to sign Zack Greinke. Reports indicate that it wasn't until last Thursday that they got serious about Greinke. The Dodgers and Giants were the two main suitors for the former AL Cy Young and with Greinke leaving Los Angeles, the team's starting rotation now features Clayton Kershaw (a bona fide ace), Brett Anderson (a veteran with health concerns), Alex Wood (a decent mid-rotation guy) and Mike Bolsinger (a young fill-in).
The Dodgers also expect Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John surgery) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder surgery) to return, but the nature and timing of their injuries could make them unavailable for Opening Day, so the team addressed Greinke's departure by signing former Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma to a three-year, $45 million deal yesterday.
Iwakuma's Potential Contributions
Iwakuma will slide into Greinke's rotation spot. The Japanese right-hander has been one of the most consistent starters in the American League since his MLB debut in 2012, posting a 47-25 record with a 3.17 ERA. The main concern with him has been injuries. He struggled with shoulder and finger problems, which limited him to just 20 starts and 129 2/3 innings last season. Iwakuma was solid when he was available to pitch, particularly in the second half of the season, when he went 8-4 with a 3.05 ERA. He finished the year 9-5 with a 3.54 ERA.
He no-hit the Orioles in a 3-0 win in mid-August, becoming just the second Japanese-born pitcher after former Dodger Hideo Nomo to throw a no-hitter in the majors, which ended a run of 12 straight no-hitters thrown by National League pitchers.
Iwakuma turns 35 in April and acquiring him will cost the Dodgers a first-round draft pick because he rejected a qualifying offer from the Mariners. If healthy, he will give Los Angeles a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter and help them focus on improving other areas of their roster, which could make them an intriguing MLB pick. The Dodgers are currently at +1200 MLB odds to win the 2016 World Series at Bovada.