The KC Royals also shouldn't bring back starting pitcher Zack Greinke
This one hurts. A lot. But it's time for the Royals to gracefully part ways with Greinke, the probable future Hall of Famer with whom they reunited last season and re-signed just before spring training began this year.
Why? Because Greinke really isn't Greinke anymore, not the dominating hurler he was as recently as 2021 when he went 11-6 for the American League pennant-winning Astros. Since then, he's pitched only for the Royals, for whom he's 5-21 (1-12 this year) after losing to Philadelphia Sunday.
To be fair, a frustrating lack of run support plagues Greinke from time to time, but pitchers don't lose 16 of 26 decisions because of poor run support alone. As his 5.53 ERA this season proves, Greinke must shoulder much of the blame. Sunday marked the fifth time in 21 starts that he's given up five or more runs (he handed the Phillies five), and he's yielded six once, seven twice, and four four times. Opponents are hitting .286 against him.
Unfortunately, much of the magic is gone from the tank that's propelled the 20-year major league veteran to 224 career wins. No longer can the Royals assume Greinke, who turns 40 in October, will provide consistently good starts.
Perhaps Greinke, who knows himself and his pitching better than anyone, will retire; unless he soon recaptures some of his old magic, that would make sense.
But under any circumstance, saying goodbye to Greinke will be hard.