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Greinke Inks Big Extension With Royals

The Kansas City Royals took a big step toward securing their best assets, and the future free agent pitching markets until 2013 took a small hit in depth as a result.

After failing to reach a short agreement to avoid exchanging arbitration figures, the Royals came to terms on a much longer agreement with young starting pitcher Zach Greinke on Monday. The four-year deal is reportedly worth some $38 million, with a first-year salary of $3.75 million this year, less than the $4.4 million he asked for but still a first step on a four-year ladder that concludes with two $13.5 million years.

Greinke had his best season last year, putting together a 13-10 season with a 3.47 ERA that was the best a Royals starter has put up in 11 years. More importantly, it served as the most significant proof that Greinke is finally over his past struggles with social anxiety disorder. He left baseball to undergo treatment for the condition, and returned late in 2006. The results since then have been impressive, and there's no reason to believe he won't continue to improve.

If he does, everyone needs to watch out. Greinke has incredible control of four different pitchers: a fastball that reaches into the low 90s, a nasty curveball, a change up and a slider. As he gets older he's showing signs of avoiding the perpetual trap that is "over-finessing" his opponents.

Add to that natural growth and increased stamina, and Greinke could become one of the league's hidden aces. If he does, those $13.5 million options will be worth it. If he doesn't? The team will eat part of the cost and send him on his way, because someone else will always take a chance on him. He has that kind of talent.

By Cameron Smith  |  January 26, 2009; 6:33 PM ET
Categories:  Royals  
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Comments

That seems like a reasonable price for a solid/really good pitcher like Greinke. Especially when you consider the Royals would probably have to overpay to get a pitcher of his caliber or better to come to town (see Detroit Tigers and Pudge Rodriguez).

Posted by: adampschroeder | January 28, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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