Zack Greinke Contract: Dodgers Smart to Refuse No-Trade Clause

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Zack Greinke #23 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 25, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers took care of their team for the present and the future with the signing of Zack Greinke.

By signing the former Cy Young winner, the team gets an experienced pitcher with elite skill to add to the rotation. Last season, he won 15 games and compiled a 3.48 ERA between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels.

On the other hand, this addition did not come cheap. Gina Miller of DFW Sports reported that the deal is worth $147 million:

Source tells me Dodgers deal with Zach Greinke is actually $147 million over 6 years. Deal still pending physical.#dfwsp #fb

— Gina Miller (@ThatSportsGirl) December 9, 2012


This would be the largest contract for a right-handed pitcher, and the average of $24.5 million per year would be the most for any pitcher in history.

ESPN's Jim Bowden reported the breakdown of the contract on Twitter:

According to a Dodger source here is break-down of Greinke's contract: 12m signing bonus '13: $17m '14 $24m ;15 $23m 16 $24m 17 $23m 18 $24m

— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 9, 2012


Bowden also added some interesting facts about a no-trade clause:

According to Dodger source like Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier deals.....Zack Greinke did NOT get a no-trade clause

— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 9, 2012



According to a Dodger source:Greinke has a full player opt out clause after 3 yrs & if traded during contract he can opt out at end of yr

— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 9, 2012


These notes create a different mindset for the pitcher's future with this team.

High-priced free agents, especially pitchers, do not always work out. Heading into 2013, the three highest-paid players will be Alex Rodriguez, Vernon Wells and Johan Santana. It would be surprising if any of them even reach the All-Star game.

Santana is also a prime example of injuries that can occur to pitchers in the later stages of a career. A shoulder injury has limited the southpaw to only 21 starts in the last two years.

In other instances, the player performs well but does not fit the team. This would leave a team an option for a trade.

Despite the massive deal, the Dodgers have given themselves an opportunity to end things with Greinke. The lack of a no-trade clause gives the team freedom to move the pitcher whenever they see fit.

Jose Reyes showed what could happen without a no-trade clause, as he was traded only one year after signing a long-term deal with the Miami Marlins.

In addition, the fact that this deal is spread out relatively evenly throughout the final years gives the team a bigger chance of making a trade. It would not be easy moving a player worth $24 million, but it would be tougher moving one worth $30 million.

There is no way to guarantee that Greinke will be an elite pitcher with the Dodgers. However, the team needed to give up a lot of money and years just to acquire his services. At least the front office had the foresight to put in a contingency plan.