MLB Rumors: Could Zack Greinke Find His Way Back to the Kansas City Royals?

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIINovember 26, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 26:  Starting pitcher Zack Greinke #23 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 26, 2010 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It's still early on in free agency. Baseball's Winter Meetings have yet to begin, and Thanksgiving is but a few days in the past.

Still, the market for some of the season's top free agents has been developing slowly.

There are no clear front-runners for outfielders Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton (though he'll reportedly decide this week), and the same goes for the year's top free agent pitcher, right-hander Zack Greinke.

Greinke—formerly of the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and most recently, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim—is undoubtedly the top free agent pitcher available.

Jon Heyman of reports that executives around the league foresee Greinke attaining a six-year contract worth around $25 million per season. This would bring the total value of a contract to $150 million.

With the inevitable bidding war between the Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers sure to happen—they're both very wealthy franchises—it's a safe bet to say that Greinke will become the richest pitcher in the history of baseball.

There's no clear front-runner amongst the two teams, though, and there will definitely be teams interested in acquiring an ace.

While all teams could benefit from adding Greinke, no other team in baseball would benefit more than the Royals.

General manager Dayton Moore has already improved his starting rotation greatly this offseason. Acquiring Ervin Santana and signing Jeremy Guthrie represented important steps in the right direction.

But the team still lacks a true ace.

Bringing Greinke back would easily solve that problem, and could even propel the Royals to a season above .500 in 2013.

Greinke's breakout season came in 2009 as a member of the Royals. His 2.16 ERA over 229.1 innings was the best in the majors, as were his 205 ERA plus, 1.073 WHIP and 0.4 HR/9.

That led to his only career All-Star selection and a first-place voting for the American League Cy Young.

The Royals may not be willing to offer Greinke $150 million, but six years shouldn't be an issue for Moore.

If Greinke is willing to go down to about $125-130 million over the life of the contract, the Royals would likely be more inclined to make a play for him.

The chances of Kansas City landing Greinke are slim, as Heyman notes towards the end of his piece.

The Royals could still sneak in and make a play for him, though, and I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up reacquiring their ace.