Sources: Dodgers, Greinke near deal

Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports
Sun Dec 9, 1:58 AM UTC

Now the offseason can truly begin.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are close to a six-year, $145 million agreement with free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke, according to major-league sources.

The move likely will trigger a flurry of activity in both the trade and free-agent markets, and certainly prompt a reaction from the Texas Rangers, who also wanted Greinke.

The terms, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, would be the latest example of the Dodgers flexing their newfound financial muscle, sending their 2013 payroll over $200 million.

Grienke’s average salary of $24.1 million would be the second-highest for a starting pitcher, behind CC Sabathia’s $24.4 million, and the highest for a right-hander.

But under the Dodgers’ new ownership, price has been no object.

Greinke, 29, will give the Dodgers a formidable complement to left-hander Clayton Kershaw. The team also plans to add another starter, and faces a Sunday deadline to sign Korean lefty Ryu Hyun-jin. The two sides were not close to a deal on Saturday night.

If the Dodgers fail to sign Ryu, they will not be obligated to pay his $25.7 million posting fee, and can spend that money in another pitcher on the free-agent market.

Whatever they do, the Dodgers are now in position to trade a starting pitcher, probably lefty Chris Capuano. The team now has seven starters set to earn more than $6 million next season, including two who are physically questionable: righty Chad Billingsley and lefty Ted Lilly.

The Rangers, who made a spirited push for Greinke, now will be forced to regroup and perhaps focus on re-signing free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton and trading for a starting pitcher.

Plan A for the Rangers was to sign Greinke and trade for Arizona right fielder Justin Upton. Rays righty James Shields, Mets righty R.A. Dickey are among the pitchers that the Rangers are considering in trades.

Beyond that, the signing of Greinke also will help establish the market for the other top free-agent starting pitchers — notably, right-handers Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson.

Greinke, 29, spent last season with the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels, going a combined 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA. The Angels wanted to re-sign Greinke, but balked at the price, sources said.

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