Arizona Diamondbacks 2016 Year In Review: Zack Greinke
By Joseph Jacquez
Right-hander Zack Greinke struggled in his first season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Greinke still provided “ace” value.
With the intent of contending in 2016, the Arizona Diamondbacks outbid the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants for Zack Greinke, considered the biggest prize on the free agent market.
The signing shocked the baseball world and immediately transformed the Diamondbacks from a pretender to a contender.
Greinke became the highest paid player, in terms of average annual value, in baseball history. After just 5 1/2 hours of contract negotiations, Fox Sports reported that Greinke and the Diamondbacks were in agreement.
Nationally, the deal raised many eyebrows. Even after signing a television deal worth more than $1.5 billion, the Diamondbacks are still viewed as a mid-market team. The idea that Arizona could outbid the Dodgers bewildered many.
In 2015, Greinke compiled the lowest qualified ERA (1.66) in the past 20 seasons. In the race for the National League CY Young, Greinke finished second to Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs.
Greinke was expeted to match his 2015 performance. Transitioning from pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium to hitter-friendly Chase Field required an adjustment. In the end, Greinke failed to make any adjustment, ended with yielding 23 home runs and that was one co-club leaders Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray.
To many, Greinke regressed and often struggled with his command. That represented a surprising dimension of his season. In stretches, the 32-year-old looked dominant, but when he struggled, Greinke was mortal.
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Despite his struggles, Greinke gave the Diamondbacks 158.2 innings. Only Robbie Ray (174.1) worked more in 2016.
Among Diamondbacks starters with at least 100 innings, Greinke recorded the lowest ERA (4.37), the second most strikeouts (134), and the fewest walks (41).
After going 4-1 with a 3.82 ERA in May, Greinke kicked his performance up several notches in June. He went 4-0 (six starts) with a 1.63 ERA (7 ER/38.2 IP). On June 7th against the Rays, Greinke recaptured his 2015 mojo. He went the distance and allowed two hits with two strikeouts and recorded his fifth carer shutout.
With runners in scoring position, opposing batters hit .268. Meanwhile, lefties hit .250 with a paltry .293 OBP. Greinke fielded his position well, and he collected 11 hits with three RBIs.
On June 28, Greinke left his start against the Philadelphia Phillies with oblique tightness. On July 3, the Diamondbacks placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.
From this point on, Greinke’s season went south.
On August 9, Greinke came off the D.L. That night, he started against the Mets at Citi Field. Greinke picked up the win, going six innings and allowing three earned runs.
In his next start against the RedSox at Fenway Park, Greinke turned in the worst performance of his career. He lasted 1.2 innings, giving up nine earned runs and 10 hits. Greinke gave up four runs to Atlanta on August 24, and he gave up eight runs to the Dodgers on September 5.
Compared to 2015, Greinke allowed more earned runs (36) and home runs (23) in 64 fewer innings.
Next: Milestones for Robbie Ray and Jean Segura
On April 2nd of next year against the San Francisco Giants in Chase Field, he will likely start the Diamondbacks’ 20th season. That is, if the new manager holds Greinke in similar esteem as the previous Dave Stewart-Chip Hale regime.