Yesterday was a good day for Kansas City fans as Zack Greinke signed a four year contract. Long suffering Royals fans have to note that in a reversal of previous years, the Royals are serious about keeping their best young players and aren't afraid of paying them to stay. It's also a nice story for the loyalty of the Royals to Greinke and Greinke to the Royals.
First of all, most teams would not have stuck with Greinke through the dark years when he wanted to walk away from baseball. Most teams would have considered a man with emotional problems as a "head case" and would have given up on him. But the Royals did everything right by getting Greinke the help he needed to overcome his mental instability and bring what was a troubled mind into a situation where he could succeed.
The cynics among us would say that the team was just protecting its assets. Well, there is little wrong with that, but when you read what Greinke says about management's efforts on his behalf, it shows too much of a personal side for it to be just business. They cared about the guy and he knows it and is grateful. Greinke's gratitude is also refreshing.
For most Royal fans, little of that matters except that they have themselves a pitcher to root for for four more years that held teams to a .303 On Base Percentage and a .406 Slugging Percentage. Greinke averaged a little over six innings a start. His stats are very good, but he is not the shut down kind of starter. His WHIP of 1.27 is a little high and he gives up a lot of hits. Even so, he is reliable and a known quantity for the Royals and a good player who should continue to improve.
For Royal fans, who are used to good young players like Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran playing their best years for other teams, the move has to seem like fresh air and gives them hope for moving into contention in what is a wide open division. Good for them and good for the Royals.