The Kansas City Royals only have one pending free agent on their roster, and the odds of him coming back are increasing. A recent report from Jon Heyman of the New York Post indicates that right-hander Zack Greinke is expected to return to baseball for another season in 2023. Here's what Heyman wrote about Greinke and the Royals.
Zack Greinke, who already has a pretty strong Hall of Fame résumé, is expected to return to pitch another season. His career WAR of 76.4 fits right between Justin Verlander (77.7) and Clayton Kershaw (75.9). Greinke, 39, had a 3.68 ERA in 137 innings back in Kansas City, and the Royals are interested in a return.
Heyman's report backs up what Anne Rogers of MLB.com reported at the end of October. She noted that Kansas City was interested in bringing Greinke back for another year, and she said "it's easy to imagine a return for the Greinke family." The major hang-up in this scenario was always whether or not Greinke wanted to come back, but Heyman indicates that this should be the case. Back in August, Royals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager J.J. Picollo spoke on 610 Sports Radio's Cody and Gold program and talked about possibly bringing Greinke back:
"We definitely would have interest in having Zack back. He's very reliable, we know what to get out of him. I think the discussion at the end of the year will be more about where Zack is in his career — if he wants to continue his career. I know he sought us out this offseason. There were a couple of other teams, but he was very clear in his desire to come back to Kansas City.
"I don't have any indication that he feels any differently today than he did back in January and February. We'll see where it goes, but I think a lot of it is really in his hands and how he feels about his body, his arm and what his mindset is moving forward if he wants to continue his career."
Despite battling some injuries in his age-38 campaign, Greinke was more than solid in his reunion season with Kansas City. Across 26 starts, the future Hall of Famer pitched 137 innings to the tune of a 3.68 ERA with just 73 strikeouts but also only 27 walks in the process. No longer possessing the velocity he once had in his prime, Greinke is almost entirely reliant upon deception and control at this stage in his career. Even as he enters 2023 at the age of 39, he showed that he still has what it takes to be effective at the big-league level.
The Royals have been widely reported to be interested in potentially adding a couple of arms to their rotation this offseason, and Greinke could help fill one of those spots if he does indeed return. The emergence of Brady Singer provided the club with a budding ace down the stretch of the 2022 season, and he projects to occupy a spot at the top of the order moving forward. With question marks surrounding the likes of Daniel Lynch, Jonathan Heasley and Kris Bubic (and some others), adding Greinke back into the fold could help the Royals as they look to improve in 2023.