Chicago Cubs: Could Zack Greinke be a target this offseason?


With his team’s NLCS hopes on the line Thursday night, Dodgers righty Zack Greinke could have toed the rubber for Los Angeles for the final time.

Pending the outcome of Thursday’s Game 5 at Dodger Stadium, Greinke will either be gearing up to face the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series or he’ll head home, likely preparing to opt out of his deal with the Dodgers after a Cy Young caliber campaign.

The right-hander won 19 games this season, forming one-half of a dominant one-two punch that also featured Clayton Kershaw, who will no-doubt get votes for the league’s top pitching honors as well.

The Cy Young will either wind up with Cubs’ ace Jake Arrieta or with Greinke, barring some completely unexpected push for Kershaw – but that’s another debate for another time.

As for the Dodgers’ right-hander, there’s not been a clear decision made regarding his opt-out clause, but I personally would be floored to see him not seek a long-term deal, probably the last of his big league career, given he’s already 32 years of age.

Let’s be clear. He’s not walking away from chump change should he decide to pursue the open market, where he’d immediately become one of the top talents on the market, joining Toronto Blue Jays ace David Price atop the available options.

So about that paycheck he’d be walking away from – it’s $71 million spread over the next three years, which is an average annual value (AAV) of roughly $24 million – which is already knocking on the door of the deal the Chicago Cubs gave Jon Lester last winter, their biggest free agent deal in franchise history.

So is it feasible to think the front office would delegate that type of resources to a 32-year-old pitcher who has 12 big-league campaigns under his belt already?

In my mind, probably not.

It’s not that the Cubs won’t be willing to go big this winter if they find a piece that seems to fit their long-term needs; but I can’t see that type of money going to Greinke.

Chicago doesn’t need another ace; what they need is one or two middle-of-the-rotation arms to slot behind Lester and Arrieta, eliminating one of their biggest weaknesses. They would likely then take the big dollars and look to work out an extension with Arrieta before he hits the open market in a few years.

Will Zack Greinke opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter? Probably. He’ll look to stretch out the length of the deal to push into his late-30s, because if he rides out his current deal, there’s no way he’s getting the same kind of money as a 35-year-old free agent.

But regardless, don’t expect the Chicago Cubs to use their financial resources toward something they really don’t need to continue climbing toward a World Series title – another front-line starting pitcher.

Next: Cubs will be without Addison Russell in the NLCS