KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals and Zach Greinke agreed to a contract for the coming season, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press, making it nine seasons over two stints in Kansas City for the six-time All-Star pitcher.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the 39-year-old Greinke still needed to pass a physical.
The financial terms of the deal, which was first reported by Kansas City sports radio host Bob Fescoe, were not immediately available. Greinke was paid $13 million last season by the Royals, where he spent the first seven season before returning last year and going 3-9 with a 3.68 ERA and striking out 73 over 137 innings for the rebuilding club.
Greinke did spend two stints on the injured list but allowed two runs or fewer in 17 of his 26 starts last season.
Perhaps most importantly, Greinke provided veteran leadership to one of baseball’s younger rotations. Brady Singer, at just 26, flourished into the staff ace, while fellow 20-somethings Daniel Lynch and Kris Bubic also made progress.
Greinke, who will turn 40 in October, began his career in Kansas City as a mercurial first-round pick in the 2002 amateur draft. He nearly walked away from the game before making it to the big leagues two years later, beginning a 20-year career that included stints with the Brewers, Angels, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Astros.
The 2009 Cy Young winner is first among active pitchers with 514 career starts and 3,247 innings pitched. Greinke is second to Justin Verlander with 223 wins, third in strikeouts (2,882) and has six Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards.
The Royals had been quiet much of the offseason but have been busy in the weeks leading up to spring training.
Just recently, they sent starting outfielder Michael A. Taylor to the Twins and injury-prone shortstop Adalberto Mondesi to the Red Sox, netting three pitching prospects in the deals. They also signed reliever Aroldis Chapman to a $3.75 million deal for 2023 in the hopes the seven-time All-Star can bounce back from a disappointing season with the Yankees.
Earlier in the offseason, the Royals signed pitchers Ryan Yarbrough and Jordan Lyles. Both of them are candidates for the starting rotation, though Yarbrough’s value most likely will be found in the bullpen.