Zack Greinke's Future In Kansas City Now In Question

According to a report in the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Royals are planning to go into this season with more "predictable" arms in the rotation rather than the slew of youngsters they've counted on in recent years. But the one veteran arm they did have in hand may not be returning. 

Former Royals Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, who returned to the team in 2022, and was thought to be a slam dunk to re-sign with KC for 2023, is now very much in question. But not because of any performance issue. 

The skyrocketing market price of reliable starting pitchers this offseason may have priced Greinke out of the Royals' comfort zone. 

“I think we have to still explore (adding to the rotation),” GM JJ Picollo said. “Because we just don’t know how it’s going to end up throughout the offseason, regardless of who the pitcher is. So if there’s an opportunity for us to get deeper and get better, we can’t close the door right now.” 

The recent Royals signing of 12-year veteran Jordan Lyles is apparently one example of trying to find more predictable veterans (though the "predictability" of his career ERA of 5.10 can be fairly questioned).

“We’re not signing him for his veteran presence,” Picollo said of Lyles. “We’re signing him to be a good pitcher for us in our rotation, to help lead us.” 

Of course, the last time Lyles "led" a rotation was for a couple of months in the 2019 season, when, after a trade to the Milwaukee Brewers, he went 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA. But he followed that up by going 1-6 with a 7.02 ERA in Texas in 2020, and then a 5.15 ERA with the Rangers in 2021, and finally a 4.42 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP with the Baltimore Orioles this past season. He finished strong, though, going 8-4 with a 3.95 ERA in the second half of 2022. 

Bottom line: the signing of Lyles might very well portend the end of Greinke's possible return to KC. 

Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports