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Report: Royals Reach Agreement With Former Cy Young Winner Zack Greinke

Zack is back, serving as a surprise signing for the Royals this offseason.

In a shocking move just hours after it was reported that they were hunting for a right-handed starter, the Kansas City Royals have one. The club is signing franchise legend and veteran righty Zack Greinke to a one-year contract, pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic initially reported the news. 

Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the contract is for $13 million and contains $2M in innings bonuses. Greinke is coming off a two-plus year stint with the Houston Astros in which he tossed 300.2 innings and posted a 3.89 ERA. In 2021, the now 38-year-old posted an 11-6 record with a 4.16 ERA in 171 innings. He struck out 120 batters and walked 36. 

Oct. 2, 2010; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke watches from the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Greinke's historic career is now set to begin another chapter, and it's been one heck of a ride thus far. He began his story in Kansas City, finishing fourth in 2004 Rookie of the Year voting and immediately flashing immense potential at the age of 20. Over the years, he had an up-and-down battle both on and off the mound — even briefly stepping away from the Royals organization to focus on battling anxiety. He'd later return and eventually win a Cy Young award in 2009, posting a tremendous 2.16 ERA in 229.1 innings of league-leading baseball.

June 12, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (13) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For over a decade, Greinke spent time with several different organizations. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in a package that is famous for netting the Royals the services of Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar, both players who helped the club hoist the World Series trophy in 2015. In totality, Greinke has been a member of the Brewers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros. He now goes back to where everything originally began as a member of the Royals. 

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At this point in his career, Greinke isn't what he once was. His velocity is down compared to recent years, especially his prime, and he isn't quite at sharp. With that said, his composure and control on the mound are still world-class. Greinke is also able to add or subtract juice from his pitches as needed. For a Royals rotation that features young and still-developing arms like Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Carlos Hernandez, Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar, having a possible future Hall of Famer at their disposal can't be a bad thing in 2022. 

The Royals had quite the busy Wednesday, as they also traded left-handed starter Mike Minor to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for reliever Amir Garrett and cash considerations. The transaction cleared more than $8M in flexible spending for the club, which makes sense given the acquisition of Greinke. The hot stove has been piping hot since the MLB lockout ended, and it looks like the Royals are joining in on the fun. Reuniting with a former staple of the club is certainly one way to do that.

Oct 30, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) throws against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning of game four of the 2021 World Series at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports