GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — If there’s something Zack Greinke is used to, it’s pressure.
From his rookie year in Kansas City to Milwaukee in 2010 and then the Los Angeles Angels late last season, it’s always been there in some form for Greinke. In 2002, he faced expectations that are part of being a first-round draft pick. In 2009, there was the AL Cy Young Award and the expected encore. Late last season, he was with a playoff contender.
“Every year, there’s pressure,” Greinke said earlier this week after his first formal workout with Dodgers pitchers and catchers. “Every year, it’s different.”
Now, he has a $147 million, six-year deal that got big publicity when he signed it in December. It’s not the biggest, that belongs to Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, but the investment clearly shows the confidence the Dodgers have in Greinke.
The 29-year-old righty started last season with Milwaukee and was later traded to the Angels, going a combined 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA.
Greinke said he was careful during free agency.
He said he asked fellow players, ex-Dodgers, questions. He talked to former Dodgers infielder Jerry Hairston. He talked to his agent. After re-signing with the Royals before the 2009 season for $38 million over four years, he quietly let it be known that he was interested in the Dodgers. An opportunity at a World Series was a key consideration. Greinke saw that chance with the Dodgers.
“They’ll be competitive,” said Greinke. “I don’t see them not being competitive for the next six years, or throughout my contract. I know when I wanted to get traded by the Royals, LA was one of the places I wanted to go. Always has been. Not that I could do much about it then, but I knew that I liked it enough to want to be here someday.”