With Clayton Kershaw likely heading for hip surgery that would keep him out until mid-May next season and Chad Billingsley's status uncertain (but looking better), the Dodgers are going to be short on impact starting pitchers going into the 2013 season.
That brings us to Greinke. He will be -- by far -- the best free agent starting pitcher available. With Cole Hamels signing a long-term extension with the Phillies and Matt Cain doing the same earlier this year with 'Frisco, the market is wafer-thin.
The Dodgers don't exactly have the blue chip prospects necessary to acquire an impact starter on the trade market, so I'm fully expecting the Dodgers to flex their financial muscles.
Greinke, since winning the American League Cy Young in 2009, hasn't been nearly that dominant:
- 2010 through 2012: 40-25, 3.87 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 8.6 K/9
It might not be the most sound financial decision, but it's a chance I'm sure the Dodgers willing to take. The only way I see that is if another talented pitcher becomes available and the Dodgers land him.
With Kershaw not lost of the season and Billingsley's status uncertain, the Dodgers would still have a logjam at starting pitcher if they landed Greinke.
Ted Lilly is having shoulder surgery, so there's no guarantee he'll be able to help in the final year of his contract. Chris Capuano is having arguably the best season of his career, but he's struggled in the second half after a superb first half. Aaron Harang is, well, Aaron Harang. The jury is still out on Josh Beckett, but he's definitely a wild card. Still, he's not getting any younger.
If the Dodgers sign Greinke, they'd have to move at least one of these guys. Capuano would probably be easiest to move, but I'd expect the Dodgers to try to move Harang first. Lilly's no-trade clause expires after the 2012 season, but no team is going to take a chance on him after shoulder surgery. And Beckett's contract is too much to move.
It's going to take a little doing, but the way things are going in Dodgertown right now, I'd be surprised if Greinke ended up anywhere else.
Photo credit: Jninja, Wikimedia Commons