The Diamondbacks show they’re serious in signing Zack Greinke

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
35 Comments

In November, the Diamondbacks reportedly offered free agent starter Johnny Cueto a six-year deal worth, which the right-hander rejected. Some suggested it was a P.R. move more than anything, to give fans the idea that they were serious about bringing in talent, then settle for a mid-tier starter like Mike Leake who wouldn’t cost them a draft pick and would come at a comparatively much cheaper price.

One day after unveiling some bold new uniforms, the Diamondbacks boldly signed National League Cy Young Award runner-up Zack Greinke to a six-year deal worth a reported $205M, which is the largest average annual value in MLB history. It is arguably the Diamondbacks’ biggest signing since inking Hall of Famer Randy Johnson to a contract 17 years ago.

Greinke finished this past season with an outstanding 19-3 record, a 1.66 ERA, a 0.844 WHIP, and a 200/40 K/BB ratio in 222 2/3 innings. He’s an instant upgrade to a rotation that currently harbors young talent in Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin, as well as Rubby De La Rosa and Chase Anderson.

Now that the Diamondbacks have forfeited their first-round draft pick, it is worth wondering if the club goes all-out in putting together a competitive ballclub for the 2016 season. Do they make a run at Jason Heyward or Yoenis Cespedes and put either player in a lineup that already includes perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt and breakout outfielder A.J. Pollock? At 79-83, the Diamondbacks were that that far away from being considered a post-season contender last season. Greinke alone almost certainly brings them there, and another big free agent signing or trade acquisition could arguably make them NL West favorites heading into the 2016 season.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

mlb
Logan Riely/Getty Images
1 Comment

PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.