The Arizona Diamondbacks shocked the baseball world on Friday by signing ace pitcher Zack Greinke to a massive contract worth more than $206 million over the next six years.
It was the greatest moment in Arizona sports history when the D-backs beat the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series. Here's why Greinke will return the Snakes to their turn-of-the-millennium glory:
10.) The signing directly affects the rival Dodgers and Giants.
Not only is the signing a win for the D-backs, it's a direct loss for the squad's biggest division rivals — he just opted out of his contract with the Dodgers to become a free agent, and the Giants were in on the bidding for Greinke. The Giants ended up with Jeff Samardzija as their big-name pitching signing, but his stats don't rival Greinke's.
9.) The Diamondbacks still aren't done in free agency.
(Cue late TV pitchman Billy Mays' voice:) BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
Not long after news of the Greinke signing broke, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the D-backs still were pursuing Mike Leake, a free agent (and ASU graduate) who most recently played for the Giants.
8.) The Diamondbacks are healthy.
Players on the team will be injured this year, there's no doubt about it, but after the pitching squad was completely ravaged by Tommy John surgeries over the last few years, those guys — namely Patrick Corbin and Daniel Hudson — are primed to pitch again at their highest levels.
7.) Fan support will be be high with Greinke's signing.
Attendance has been ho-hum over the past few years as the team produced mediocre results. Pessimistic D-backs fans have speculated that the D-backs' tries to go after big-name players over the last few years have been shams — that is, the front office doesn't really put together big offers for trades and free agents and then claims it tried when it comes back empty-handed. It's hard to believe that now, since the Snakes got one of the very best pitchers in the league. Expect fans to hop back on the bandwagon.
6.) Greinke's will actually attract free agents.
Veteran, top-tier players tend to only want to sign with a team that's serious about contending. There's been speculation that players have avoided Arizona for this reason, but Greinke's signing makes it immediately clear that the team's interested in winning — and winning now.
5.) Greinke could save the D-backs in the Dodgers rivalry.
Getting down on the Dodgers is essential for any true Diamondback. And Greinke did that in spades in the off-season with his criticism of L.A.'s front office. The rivalry heats up yet again! And it's a rivalry that's been dominated by the Dodgers — until now. Eff you Los Doyers; we're headed at least to a division championship.
4.) It's the biggest signing since Randy Johnson — coincidence?
This is clearly the biggest free-agent signing for the Diamondbacks since they nabbed the Big Unit. and went on to win the only World Series in team history in 2001. Free agents this big tend to pay off with titles.
3.) Greinke's aged like a fine wine
So, you've done the math — Greinke will be 37 when this contract expires. Speaking of Randy Johnson, remember that he happened to be 37 during that '01 World Series year. Like Johnson, there's no reason to think Greinke's nearing the end of his career. He won't even be close in six years. Despite winning the Cy Young Award with Kansas City in 2009, Greinke's posted the lowest earned-run averages of his career in the last three seasons. Last year, in his age-31 season, Greinke put up his lowest ERA: 1.66. He's only getting better.
2.) Greinke is a serious competitor!
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Bitter Dodgers and Giants fans are boo-hooing,claiming, of course, Greinke's only chasing the big money, that he doesn't care about winning. Ridiculous! Statements Greinke and his teammates made to the media over the years make it clear that the mighty righty is a fierce competitor who really, really cares about winning. He criticized the Royals front office for lacking competitive spirit at the time, and he most recently criticized the Dodgers for their off-season moves, He left L.A. because he wants to win it all, and he's got a real shot in the desert..
1.) Greinke turns the D-backs' weakest link into the strongest.
The Diamondbacks had the second-best offense in the National League last year, and the absolute best defense in the majors, by far. That only left one part of the Snakes' game needing improvement — pitching. Arizona was in the middle of the pack in ERA, and just six spots above last in the majors in quality starts by pitchers last year. This glaring hole just got filled, bit-time. Thanks to Greinke, we'll have to watch the All-Star Game this year to see which league's getting home-field advantage come October.