MLB execs: Zack Greinke is headed for a record payday for right-handed pitchers

Apparently, Zack Greinke can be the highest-paid right-handed pitcher in the game -- if he wants to be. (US Presswire)


Baseball executives see star free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke landing a deal for at least six years and perhaps as much as $25 million a year, which could bring Greinke's total haul to $150 million.

The presence of both Los Angeles Dodgers teams in the bidding is likely to benefit Greinke, who should easily set a record for pay for a right-handed pitcher.

San Francisco Giants star Matt Cain set the record for salary for right-handers when he signed in spring training for $112.5 million over five years, an extension that took him to $127.5 million over six years. Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels has the per-season record salary on a multiyear deal at $24 million, while fellow lefty CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees has the record contract for a pitcher, at $161 million over seven years.

While Greinke isn't quite as accomplished as Cole Hamels, who signed during last season for $144 million over six years, a case could be made that Hamels might have gotten even a bit more than that had he chosen to test the free-agent market rather than re-sign with his old team.

The Dodgers also are said to like Anibal Sanchez , but he has been asking teams for at least $90 million over six seasons, so he's not inexpensive either. They might also look at Kyle Lohse , as well. However, Dodgers people have begun asking around about Greinke, Danny Knobler reported, and their presence in talks only benefits Greinke, who went 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers and Angels.

Angels people have seen the Dodgers as their biggest threat.

The Angels want to re-sign Greinke, and they set themselves up for that possibility by trading Ervin Santana and letting Dan Haren go. The Angels suggested last winter that they wouldn't pay a starting pitcher more than ace Jered Weaver 's $85 million, five-year deal, but such a stance would be a major impediment to any Greinke deal, and an Angels person suggested that they will consider that strategy on a "case-by-case" basis.

The Texas Rangers , a main Angels rival, loom as another threat in the Greinke market, and so might the Washington Nationals , who have long coveted Greinke (they offered him $100 million two years ago as part of a possible trade deal, before he chose the Brewers). Asked at the GM meetings about Greinke, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said, "What's not to like?"

About the only big-market team looking to sign a pitcher to a multiyear deal that appears to be shying away from Greinke is the Boston Red Sox .

Greinke's other two previous teams, the Kansas City Royals and Brewers, would love to have him back. But in a bidding situation with at least the two L.A. teams, their chances seem quite remote. They certainly aren't about to pay anyone $150 million.

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