Zack Greinke enjoyed a season for the ages in 2015 and as expected, he opted out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in order to pursue one last major contract. At the time, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that the move was simply to extend with the Dodgers and get a few guaranteed years and dollars in the process.
Plans sometimes change.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the San Francisco Giants have thrown their hat in the ring in an attempt to sign Greinke, and some in the industry feel like they represent a legitimate threat to the Dodgers in that regard.
The Giants are in a unique position this winter, having lost Tim Hudson to retirement and likely allowing Tim Lincecum to finally move on. That will clear $30 million off of the payroll from 2015, giving them plenty of money to pursue Greinke.
The question for the Giants will be whether or not they are willing to commit six years to a 32-year-old pitcher. That's a big risk for a pitcher with a lot of mileage on his arm and on the wrong side of his prime.
Still, we're talking about a pitcher coming off of an historic season that nearly resulted in a Cy Young award. In 32 starts, Greinke posted a 19-3 record with a 1.64 ERA, a 2.76 FIP, a 0.844 WHIP, and a 8.1 K/9 ratio. Despite that effort, Greinke fell seven first place votes shy of taking home the Cy Young Award, finishing second to Jake Arrieta.
See where we think the MLB's top free agents will end up:
Top MLB Free Agents 2015-2016
MLB Rumors: Giants could sign Zack Greinke away from Dodgers
14. Yovani Gallardo
Position: Starting Pitcher Current Team: Texas Rangers Best Fit for 2016: Toronto Blue Jays Notable statistic: Has averaged 191 IP since 2009
(AP Photo/LM Otero)
13. Denard Span
Position: Outfield Current Team: Washington Nationals Best Fit for 2016: Baltimore Orioles Notable statistic: Career-worst -10 defensive runs saved in 61 games in 2015
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
12. Dexter Fowler
Position: Outfield Current Team: Chicago Cubs Best Fit for 2016: New York Mets Notable statistic: Had a career-high 84 walks in 2015
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
11. Daniel Murphy
Position: Second Baseman Current Team: New York Mets Best Fit for 2016: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Notable statistic: Struck out 38 times in 538 plate appearances in 2015
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
10. Scott Kazmir
Position: Starting Pitcher Current Team: Houston Astros Best Fit for 2016: New York Yankees Notable statistic: Posted >3 WAR last season for the first time since 2008
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
9. Wei-Yin Chen
Position: Starting Pitcher Current Team: Baltimore Orioles Best Fit for 2016: Chicago Cubs Notable statistic: 51 home runs allowed over last two seasons
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
8. Mike Leake
Position: Starting Pitcher Current Team: San Francisco Giants Best Fit for 2016: San Francisco Giants Notable statistic: Has had at least 29 starts in each of the last five seasons
(AP Photo/LM Otero)
7. Howie Kendrick
Position: Second Baseman Current Team: Los Angeles Dodgers Best Fit for 2016: Los Angeles Dodgers Notable statistic: Career .293 BA over 10 seasons
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
6. Ian Desmond
Position: Shortstop Current Team: Washington Nationals Best Fit for 2016: San Diego Padres Notable statistic: 12 home runs, 38 RBIs over final 69 games
(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
5. Chris Davis
Position: First Baseman Current Team: Baltimore Orioles Best Fit for 2016: Toronto Blue Jays Notable statistic: Has 159 home runs over last four years
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
4. Yoenis Cespedes
Position: Outfield Current Team: New York Mets Best Fit for 2016: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Notable statistic: .222/.232/.352 in 2015 playoffs
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
3. Johnny Cueto
Position: Starting Pitcher Current Team: Kansas City Royals Best Fit for 2016: San Diego Padres Notable statistic: Had a career-high 3.83 SO/W ratio in 2015
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
2. Justin Upton
Position: Outfield Current Team: San Diego Padres Best Fit for 2016: San Francisco Giants Notable statistic: Career-high 8 defensive runs saved in 2015
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
1. Jason Heyward
Position: Outfield Current Team: St. Louis Cardinals Best Fit for 2016: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Notable statistic: 6.5 WAR in 2015
(Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
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Like the Dodgers, the biggest issue for the Giants is that Greinke wouldn't represent a true ace for the team. He would basically be trading in a 1-2 pairing with Clayton Kershaw for another with Madison Bumgarner. At this point in his career, he may cherish the opportunity to lead a staff, but may have to trade that for a legitimate shot at joining a contender.
Dollar figures will likely be similar from team to team. It will come down to which franchise is willing to commit six years at this stage, and the Giants may be less likely to make such a commitment having less financial flexibility than the Dodgers.