How overlooked has
Juan Uribe stepped into the batter's box and received a standing ovation from the Dodger Stadium fans. He doffed his helmet. Uribe was traded before Tuesday's game, but he has become a fan favorite. He is revered enough to have earned his own bobblehead day, scheduled for July 11.
Greinke? No bobblehead this year.
And so it came to pass that the Dodgers' best pitcher this season, an early candidate for the
But Greinke continues to dominate. He did not have his best stuff Wednesday. He labored early. He loaded the bases in the first inning and gave up a long home run to
Still, he gave up one run in six innings. The nine batters he struck out might as well have been bobbleheads. After yielding the home run, he retired the final 11 batters he faced.
"Clayton has overshadowed a lot of the things that Zack's been able to do," Dodgers Manager
Each start brings Greinke closer to an intriguing decision. Greinke has three seasons and $71 million remaining on his contract — with an opt-out clause after this season.
How good must he be to risk the open market?
Greinke is, at least, building a case that he would be the best free-agent pitcher in a class that includes
Greinke may not command significantly more money per season than he currently makes — only Kershaw,
The question becomes, is there at least one general manager desperate enough for his services to pay a premium?
Greinke has been among baseball's most durable starters. Since he became a full-time starter, he has never thrown fewer than 28 starts. His previous health issues aren't the kinds that raise any red flags. In 2011, he broke a rib playing basketball. In 2012, he broke his collarbone in a fight with the Padres.
And has been judicious with his pitch counts. Over his career, he has averaged about 90 pitches per appearance (which includes some in relief), and has averaged about 101 this season.
For a contender, Greinke's postseason resume is enticing: He has a 1.93 ERA in five starts.
"He's been pretty good for a long time," Mattingly said.
If Greinke's mind has been at all occupied by thoughts of a new contract, it hasn't shown. He has remained as unrestrained as ever. In his past two starts, his walk-up music has been "Careless Whisper," the sultry jazz number, because, he explained. "It's kind of my favorite song right now."
All along, he has been honest about his intentions. In
"Right after I signed my contract with Kansas City, I kind of wished I didn't right after I signed it. My initial plan was to not let that happen again, to do everything possible to keep my options open."
With each dominant start, Greinke's options grow. He might not have a bobblehead night this season, but he could earn a big payday after it.