First, I’ve been very strong in my support of David Price being the top pitcher on the market. He doesn’t show signs of slowing down, and his mechanics should keep him relatively injury free. While signing him to a long term deal, of six or seven or eight years, could expose your team to a bad contact five years from now, the way teams treat these long term deals makes the backend almost irrelevant.
All of that said, the Cubs should sign Zack Greinke over David Price.
While I don’t believe David Price will become injury-prone, he will eventually lose velocity. Once a fireball pitcher, who relies on velocity, loses even a couple miles per hour on that fastball, he becomes hittable. Now instead of getting away with a mistake over the middle, that pitch gets hit hard.
The drop in velocity will be undeniable, it will happen, even in the case of Zack Greinke. The difference between the two pitchers is, Price relies on that velocity to get by hitters, while Greinke can be just as effective at 88-90 MPH as he is at 92 MPH.
ESPN recently asked 34 scouts, general managers, and other baseball executives on a number of things that are expected to happen this offseason. When asked which pitcher they would give a nine figure contact to, 19 replied Greinke.
“Greinke is an easy one here,” said an AL scout. “His delivery is too good, his control and command too spot on, his pitchability too high. He’s got athleticism and he’s intelligent — all the characteristics you need to age gracefully. I am not saying Price does not possess these same characteristics. I just don’t think he has them at the advanced levels that Greinke has them.”
While the talent evaluators admit Price has some better intangibles — leadership, high octane competitor — and Greinke is… weird, Zack makes more sense for a team looking to make a huge investment. Outside of his odd personality, he was compared to one of the best pitchers of all-time, and it makes complete sense.
“He is our modern-day equivalent to Greg Maddux, where we saw a slow decline with his velo, but little drop in his effectiveness because his was a movement and change-of-speed art form that can be just as effective at 89-90 as it is at 92,” the scout said in an email. “Greinke is the same way, with, perhaps, more weapons. I also like that he cruises much like a 747 when it gets to 40,000 feet. I heard they use about 50% of their power capacity at that point, which reduces the wear and tear on the plane. I think Greinke does the same thing. Never out of control, hardly sweats. Cruising. Perhaps it will put less wear and tear on his engine/elbow/shoulder.”
When a pitcher throws with his mechanics, using his body to create velocity, there is less of a chance to have injury. Match that up with his pin point control, and his four-pitch assortment can be as devestating at 92, 89, or 85 MPH.
The Cubs are certainly in a very good position, coming off a NLCS appearance, turning the cracow around, and becoming a very attractive landing spot for any free agent. If they land either pitcher it would be huge for the team’s 2016 chances, and you wouldn’t be wrong to stay thinking what it would mean for their October expectations.
This hot stove season will be one if, if not the most fun, season in a long long time.