Zack Greinke to exercise his opt-out clause

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Jon Heyman reports that Zack Greinke will exercise the opt-out clause in his contract. Kind of a no-brainer given the season he just had.

The deal would’ve paid him $71 million over the next three years or an average of $23 million a year. That’s a few million below what Jon Lester, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and some other pitchers make a year, but it’s likewise a low total guarantee for a guy who just put up a season in which he went 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA and will finish someplace in the top three of the Cy Young voting. By opting out, Greinke, who turns 32 next week, will guarantee himself anywhere from $125-150 million, one assumes.

Who will give it to him? Many will try, one assumes, as starting pitchers as elite, durable and consistent as Greinke don’t come along too often. Indeed, he has averaged 205 innings a year since returning to full-time starting duties in 2008, and that number would’ve been higher if not for that freak collar bone injury he got when Carlos Quentin charged the mound on him back in 2013.

One has to assume, however, that the Dodgers are the favorites. Greinke, according to Heyman, likes Los Angeles and enjoyed this season and the NL West parks are a pretty good place for any pitcher. Financially speaking, the Dodgers payroll, while high, will not be significantly higher on a per annum basis if they sign Greinke. They’re already committing $23 million a year to him, after all.

Oh, and their rotation is already thin as hell after him and Kershaw as it is, so they’re gonna want to keep him around, no?

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.