That the KC Royals, a team striving to achieve relevance again, need rotation and bullpen help is no secret. And they’ve worked on getting that help this winter by signing several hurlers to minor league deals.
But until Wednesday afternoon, Kansas City hadn’t made any major pre-lockout or post-lockout pitching moves.
That changed, though, when the club suddenly traded starter Mike Minor to the Reds for reliever Amir Garrett, a surprise deal designed to strengthen the relief corps with a potential-loaded lefty.
Then, in a move made before fans could fully absorb the Garrett acquisition, the Royals outdid themselves.
Zack Greinke is coming home.
Yes, the same Zack Greinke who years ago electrified Royals faithful with his superb pitching. The same Zack Greinke who won the 2009 American League Cy Young Award with a stellar 16-8, 2.16 ERA. And the same Zack Greinke whose desire to play for a winner moved the Royals to trade him to Milwaukee as part of the deal that brought Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar to Kansas City.
The Royals-Greinke reunion is being widely reported by typically reliable sources on their Twitter accounts, including The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, and also The Washington Post’s Joel Sherman, who reported some contract details:
Greinke, who Kansas City grabbed up with the sixth overall pick in the 2002 amateur draft, is headed back to where he started his big league career in 2004.
Zack Greinke brings experience and excellent career work to the KC Royals.
In Greinke, Kansas City gets precisely what its young rotation needs—a proven veteran major league starter who can win a lot of games, set a superb example, and help mentor present and future Royal hurlers.
Greinke, 38 but still masterful on the mound, is a potential Hall of Famer who owns a 219-132 career record. He has an 18-season ERA of 3.41 and hasn’t had a BB9 above 1.9 since 2017, when he posted a more than acceptable 2.0.
He won 11 games for the AL champion Astros last season, then started and helped Houston beat Atlanta in Game 4 of the World Series with a scoreless, three-strikeout four innings.
The right-hander went 60-67 in seven years with the Royals and was 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA with the Dodgers from 2013-2015. Besides the Royals, Dodgers and Brewers, he’s also pitched for the Diamondbacks.
To go with his Cy Young, Greinke also has six Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers (he’s homered nine times) and is a six-time All-Star.
Will Greinke bring a pennant or a World Series to Kansas City? Perhaps not, but by signing him the Royals are showing they mean business.
Zack Greinke is coming home to Kauffman Stadium.