PHOENIX — In his time with the Dodgers, Zack Greinke has shared his opinions on everything from the organization's farm system to Ryan Braun's drug use.
As for Clayton Kershaw's new seven-year, $215-million contract, Greinke said, "I think it was solid for both sides. He's the best pitcher, but pitching is a little less predictable than a position player long term. You can't give him a 10-year, $32-million-a-year deal."
Greinke said Kershaw received a better deal than expected.
"Anything he gets, you could probably say he's worth it," Greinke said. "I would say it's a little bit more than I thought it would be. But I'm talking like a million a year or something."
More than the dollar figure, Greinke was surprised Kershaw was able to persuade the Dodgers to grant him the option of voiding the final two years of the deal. That would allow Kershaw to become a free agent at 30.
Greinke's contract includes a similar clause that would allow him to reenter the free-agent market after the 2015 season. Greinke, who is entering the second year of a six-year, $147-million deal, is represented by the same agency as Kershaw.
Maholm to the bullpen?
The Dodgers have spoken to newcomer Paul Maholm about possibly moving to the bullpen. They haven't had a similar conversation with Josh Beckett, an indication Maholm will be turned into a long reliever if both fifth-starter candidates are healthy at the start of the season.
Maholm has pitched in relief only once in his nine-year career, and he made it clear he prefers to start.
"I'm going to come in and compete," Maholm said. "If I pitch well, then things will work out."
Beckett is the only pitcher or catcher who isn't in camp. Manager Don Mattingly said the Dodgers knew he would be reporting late.
Although Beckett is said by the Dodgers to be throwing without any restrictions, his return to the field is far from guaranteed. Beckett underwent an operation to relieve a nerve problem that is similar to what ended Chris Carpenter's career.
Chad Billingsley is expected to return in May or June, which would further increase competition for the final rotation spot.
If Maholm moves to the bullpen, he would become the seventh reliever with a contract guaranteed for $1.5 million or more. That would probably result in left-hander Paco Rodriguez and right-hander Chris Withrow starting their seasons in the minors, as they can be sent to down without clearing waivers.