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D-backs GM ‘not optimistic’ Greinke trade will happen

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

With the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings having come to an end last week, the Arizona Diamondbacks have been a major team of discussion regarding both the free agent and trade market. The team has already lost Patrick Corbin and Paul Goldschmidt to free agency and a trade, respectively.

The D-backs are also expected to lose center fielder A.J. Pollack to free agency.

Another name that has come up recently in trade talks is starting pitcher Zack Greinke. The 35-year-old still has three years remaining on his contract worth a total of $104.5 million and $35 million per season. Last year, the D-backs ace posted a 15-11 record with a 3.21 ERA, 199 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP in 33 starts over 207.2 innings that awarded him a Gold Glove and a trip to the All-Star Game. Greinke was no doubt the workhorse for the team along with Patrick Corbin.

“He goes out there every fifth day and gives you a chance to win and pitches six to seven innings and pitches 200 innings and strikes out 200 guys,” D-backs GM Mike Hazen said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta. “Go look at how many guys in the big leagues are doing that right now. It’s not a lot.”

However, the transactions over the course of this off-season would indicate that the D-backs are going into a rebuild, as the team has unloaded three of its best players ahead of the 2019 season.

Presumably, Greinke would be the next to go, as he has the highest return value, which would also give the D-backs room to make moves elsewhere. But Hazen and president and CEO Derrick Hall have been persistent publicly that they are not in a rebuild or trying to trade Greinke, but they would be willing to do so should the right offer come along.

“I’m not optimistic that anything is going to happen,” Hazen said. “We like Zack. He’s the number one starting pitcher. He’s been worth every penny we’ve paid him for the last two years and he’s the top of our rotation. We obviously can’t rule anything out. The period where we are as an organization, as a team, there’s nothing we can really 100 percent take off the table … There’s an understanding there that there’s nothing that we can write off at the moment and not consider. I’m optimistic that he’ll still be with us and leading our rotation.”

Greinke can also reject trades of 15 teams should chasing a World Series ring before retirement be a factor for the right-hander. That could prove costly for the D-backs, as his contract will also diminish return value. The team might have to eat some of his contract in order to get a deal done.

“If you’re looking at a situation that makes sense to us when you look at return, Mike will come to us with a recommendation, but at this point, we feel no real urgency to move the guy that has continued to perform as an ace at the top of his game right now, even at his age, and continues to be under contract with us,” Hall said.

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