Why it makes sense for the Diamondbacks to reportedly shop Zack Greinke this offseason

The Arizona Diamondbacks are coming off an 82-80 season in 2018. Given that they played above that mark at the level of runs scored and runs allowed (they had the run differential of an 86-win team) and given that they won 93 games and made the postseason in 2017, you might think they’d be angling to contend again in 2019. That, however, does not appear to be the case. 

Assuming no one departs from the Diamondbacks’ 2018 roster, the SportsLine Projection Model (@SportsLine on Twitter) forecasts them for 86 wins in 2019 and a 44.7 percent chance of making the playoffs. That’s a contending baseline. However, the Diamondbacks are faced with the certain free agent losses of lefty Patrick Corbin, center fielder A.J. Pollock, and right-hander Clay Buchholz. Last season, those three combined for a WAR of 10.3. In other words, they’re going to be hit hard by those departures, and as such their 2019 baseline is much lower in reality. 

That’s why the Diamondbacks, rather than spend to fill holes, may be looking to trade away some veteran contributors and turn this into at least a medium-term rebuild. Speaking of which … 

Greinke, who turned 35 in October, indeed had a standout 2018.

As Nightengale notes, he’s got nine figures left on his contract, and if the D-Backs want strong young talent in return, they’ll probably need to kick in cash. That said, Grienke despite his age, has the command and repertoire depth to continue thriving despite velocity loss (he’s been excellent over the last two seasons). Clayton Kershaw of course never hit the free-agent market, and that means a bit of a void. Greinke could fill that, especially for a team that’s ready to win now. 

You’ve also heard occasional rumors about first baseman Paul Goldschmidt being available in trade. That seems less certain, given his “face of the franchise” status, but his high level of production in tandem with his being under contract for 2019 at bargain rates ($14.5 million) mean he could net the D-Backs a nice haul. 

This isn’t to say a trade of Greinke would herald a deep teardown, but it certainly could. Consider what’s going on in Arizona a winter storyline to follow closely. 

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