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Rosenthal: D-backs’ Greinke may be 2nd-best pitching option on market

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)

If you thought D-backs free agent Patrick Corbin was one of the the best pitchers available to teams seeking an arm, you’re probably right.

But The Athletic’Ken Rosenthal points out that Corbin’s D-backs teammate, Zack Greinke, “might be the second-most-attractive starting pitcher available” behind only Corbin, if the D-backs can mitigate some of Greinke’s cost by retaining salary. Rosenthal wrote that’s something the D-backs “are willing to do for a prospective trade partner.”

He also added that “club officials have not said definitively they want to move Greinke.”

It’s a notable discussion point as the Diamondbacks enter what some describe as a “transition” point in the progression of their franchise. Corbin and outfielder A.J. Pollock are both free agents, and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt enters the final year of his contract. It hasn’t been made clear exactly whether Arizona will go for a full rebuild, stock up to compete again in 2019 or somewhere in between. But as the team weighs its options, there’s been ensuing speculation that Greinke could be traded at some point.

Trading Greinke could also relieve the D-backs of some of his contract, which has three years and $104.5 million (about $35 million annually) remaining.

Teams surely would grow interested if the D-Backs included enough money to bring Greinke down to, say, the range of $20 million to $25 million annually. The D-Backs then could make this case: “Which pitcher would you rather have: Greinke for three years or a free agent such as Dallas Keuchel at a comparable salary for five?”

Among all MLB pitchers in 2018, the 35-year-old ranked 10th in WHIP, sixth in fewest walks per nine IP, sixth in innings pitched, fourth in starts and ninth in strikeouts-to-walks ratio in his 15th big league season.

The right-hander was also an All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, his fifth consecutive year winning that honor. He posted a 3.21 ERA and 1.079 WHIP in 33 starts, pitching 207.2 innings and recording 199 strikeouts.

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