Which pitcher will Dodgers prioritize? Greinke or Price

Posted on 13 November 2015

In conjunction with an annual fall tradition, polled 34 general managers, assistant GMs, scouting directors and other baseball evaluators on seven questions that will help dictate the course of the Hot Stove season. Here are their responses:

1. Which staff ace would you be more comfortable giving a nine-figure deal -- David Price or Zack Greinke?

Responses: Greinke 19; Price 14. One executive called it a push.

Just as Max Scherzer and Jon Lester dominated the discussion last winter, Price and Greinke are the clear headliners in this year's group.Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and several other starters should generate plenty of activity, but the bulk of the $150 million-$225 million speculation will be reserved for the two headliners.

Price is two years younger than Greinke, at age 30, and it helps his cause that he's left-handed and has an ultracompetitive demeanor and a track record of success in the American League. Price also wins points for leadership and makeup over the notoriously quirky Greinke, who is more an island unto himself than a negative influence on a clubhouse dynamic.

Greinke backers cited his resourcefulness, four-pitch mix and ability to flourish without overpowering velocity. Greinke ranked 41st among MLB starters with an average fastball of 91.8 mph and was 13th overall with a 12.0 percent swing-and-miss rate, according to FanGraphs research. Some evaluators think he's a better bet to hold up long-term because of his command-and-control orientation.

"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.''

A National League scout went the aerodynamic route in support of Greinke.

"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.''

One respondent expressed concerns over Price's 0-7 record as a starter in the postseason. Discount it as a small sample size or yet another example that wins are a deceptive and/or meaningless stat. But teams in the market for free-agent aces tend to prefer a little John Smoltz October magic with their $200 million-plus mega-investments.

Article by: Gary Crasnick, ESPN

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