Angels assess cost-benefits of Zack Greinke


The Angels won’t face stiff competition for Zack Greinke from the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs, big-market teams that traditionally drive up the bidding for marquee free agents but who aren’t good fits for the right-hander this winter.

But it will still take a Brink’s-like haul to sign Greinke, who was 6-3 with a 3.53 earned-run average for the Angels after his July 27 trade from Milwaukee and who is crucial to the team’s rotation rebuilding efforts.

A starting point in negotiations for Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner, is probably five years and $110 million. Most think it will take five years and $120 million.

There was a report Wednesday on the first day of the general managers’ meetings that Greinke is asking for six years and $150 million, an average of $25 million a year.

“There’s always a concern that the market will spin,” Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said. “You have to understand where you value a player, where it fits for you, and where your walk-away point is.”

The competition for Greinke will be fierce, not because of the number of bidders but the depth of their pockets.

AL West-rival Texas, funded by big oil and a lucrative television deal, and the nouveau riche Dodgers, who are about to cash in on a multibillion-dollar TV deal, are expected to pursue Greinke, with Rangers President Nolan Ryan clearly signaling his intent Wednesday.

“To me, he is the other big sign out there,” Ryan, speaking of Greinke and Josh Hamilton, told reporters in Texas. “I don’t get concerns about him breaking down because he has a good delivery and it’s effortless and he has a feel for pitching.

“He finds a way to give hitters a different look. So you’d probably feel stronger about him as far as a longevity candidate than maybe some of the power guys.”

Greinke looks more attractive when compared with second-tier free-agent starters such as Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson, and he gained leverage on the Angels after Dipoto traded Ervin Santana to Kansas City and declined to exercise Dan Haren’s 2013 option last week.

As of today, the Angels’ rotation consists of Jered Weaver, Wilson, Jerome Williams, Garrett Richards and fill-in-the-blank.

“There’s always unease when you have holes to fill, but opening day is a long way off,” Dipoto said. “This isn’t uncommon. This is the avenue we chose. There are a lot of interesting names out there. … We’ll cover everything from bargains to marquee players and try to make the best decisions we can.”

If the Angels retain Greinke, they’ll pay him more than twice the $9 million Oakland paid seven starters, including four rookies, who helped the A’s win the division last season.

“It’s not easy replacing three guys in the rotation,” Oakland GM Billy Beane said. “Free agency is an option, but when you get into an auction situation, you really don’t have complete control of where it’s going. It’s a bilateral negotiation.

“It’s not a unilateral negotiation, which is the good thing about having young pitchers. Those are unilateral negotiations: ‘This is how much you’re making.’”

Angels notes

Torii Hunter appears to be a hot commodity, with the Tigers, Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies interested in the right fielder, but the Angels haven’t given up the idea of retaining him. “The door remains open,” Dipoto said. “You don’t want to say goodbye until it’s time to say goodbye.” … The Angels have hired Carlos Gomez as their international scouting director. Gomez served in the same capacity for Arizona in 2011 and 2012.