As far as breakups go, the split between pitcher Zack Greinke and the Angels wasn’t nasty. In fact, it seems like Greinke, formally introduced at a Dodger Stadium news conference Tuesday after signing a six-year, $147-million deal with the Angels’ Southern California rivals, still wants to be friends.
“I’m not mad about it, and I don’t think they’re mad about how I went about things, either,” Greinke said to a group of reporters that included several Angels beat writers. “So ... see you around.”
There was a perception that retaining Greinke was a top priority for the Angels after they traded three decent prospects to Milwaukee for the right-hander last July, but they did not make a serious bid to sign him.
“They kept in contact the whole time,” Greinke said of the Angels, “but when the details came, we never really got into it much with them.”
Casey Close, Greinke’s agent, called Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto “a very bright guy, a talented executive,” and said the Angels were “very interested” in Greinke, who went 6-2 with a 3.53 earned-run average in 13 starts in Anaheim.
“But there came a point where they had to make a decision, and they wanted to alter their strategy and go in a different direction,” Close said. “At the end of the day, it was not a match.”
Close would not discuss negotiations, and when asked if the Angels made a formal or competitive offer, he said, “We had discussions.” But when pressed to pinpoint when the Angels dropped out of the Greinke Derby, Close said, “Probably in early November.”
The Angels, clearly under budget constraints and unwilling to surpass $20 million a year in a deal for Greinke, filled out their rotation by signing Joe Blanton to a two-year, $15-million contract and acquiring Tommy Hanson, who will make about $4 million next season, from Atlanta.
“I told Jerry the No. 1 selling point they have is the fact you could play with Mike Trout for the next six years,” Greinke said, praising the Angels’ rookie-of-the-year outfielder while failing to mention $240-million first baseman Albert Pujols, who is under contract for nine more years. “My wife and I loved it there.
“But every team has to have a stopping point. They obviously felt they reached that. They have to run a business. They can’t just pay for everyone. It could be the right thing to do. It could be a mistake. I don’t know the answer to that. They just have to do what they have to do.”
“Along the way, there were a lot of teams, but in the end there was just those two,” Greinke said of the Dodgers and Rangers. “At one point, I was favoring Texas, but that changed in the end.”