At 38, right-hander Zack Greinke is still getting it done. Although not an ace or rotation anchor at this stage of his MLB career, Greinke is capable of being a middle-of-the-rotation starter on a contending team. One could argue that there’s a spot for him on any team in the sport.
The veteran has relied on his off-speed pitches while mixing in a high 80s fastball of late. Over his last two seasons with the Houston Astros, Greinke served as a veteran complement to an overall young rotation. With the Astros re-signing Justin Verlander, who didn’t pitch last season, and having a handful of young starting pitchers, Greinke will likely have a new home in 2022.
Here are three ideal free agent destinations for Zack Greinke.
3) Zack Greinke adds a veteran to the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation
The World Series-champion Braves aren’t going anywhere. That said, they could use another starting pitcher in the short term, and Greinke fits the bill.
Outside of Charlie Morton, manager Brian Snitker has a young starting rotation. That unit could include Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Huascar Ynoa and Touki Toussaint next season. Mike Soroka could also potentially return to the big-league club after a year and a half of recovery from an Achilles tendon injury. Greinke is a way for the Braves to buy some time with their youngsters.
To be clear: Atlanta already has a sturdy rotation that can only improve. At the same time, Snitker only utilized a handful of the aforementioned starters in the 2021 MLB Playoffs. It’s fair to say that not all of these individuals are locked into spots in the 2022 rotation.
Zack Greinke stats (2021): 4.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 120 strikeouts across 171.0 innings (30 appearances, 29 starts)
Under the scenario that Greinke pitches five innings per start, left-hander Sean Newcomb or one of the pitchers that don’t crack the rotation can be a bridge from the starter to the back end of the bullpen, which was excellent in the playoffs. Greinke is an old reliable who helps balance out the youth in the Braves’ rotation.
With all that said, Atlanta may choose to fill out their 2022 rotation from the inside and focus all their free agent efforts on retaining franchise first baseman Freddie Freeman.