“I think we all want him back,” Johnson said. “But if somebody comes in and does something that is off the charts and we don’t match that, then, you know, he leaves. We want him back. He’s our priority — our number one priority in the off-season.”
Greinke recently opted out of a contract that would have paid him a guaranteed $77 million over the next three seasons. He and left-handed pitcher David Price were perceived to be at the head of a free agent class that was heavy on mid-tier starting pitchers.
One of those mid-tier pitchers, Jordan Zimmermann, signed a five-year, $110 million contract with the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
On Wednesday, Price reportedly signed a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. Once official, the contract would make Price the highest-paid pitcher in baseball. Greinke is 32, two years older than Price, but is expected to be seeking a contract that pays a similar average annual value ($31 million).
Because he rejected the Dodgers’ qualifying offer in October, Greinke would cost most teams a first-round pick in the 2016 draft if they sign him — in addition to the money. Price didn’t cost the Red Sox a draft pick because he was traded from the Tigers to the Blue Jays during the 2015 season. That makes any comparison of his value to Price’s contract inexact.
Regardless, the financial commitment will be large to whichever team signs Greinke. The right-hander was the runner up for the National League Cy Young Award after going 19-3 with a major-league leading 1.66 earned-run average.
“We’re going to put in our bid just like other teams will, but he’s our priority,” Johnson said. “We like that one-two punch that we have with him and Clayton. We have a lot of resources, yes, and we’re using them to make our team better.”
The winning bid could be revealed soon. FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Giants are the Dodgers’ chief rival and Greinke might make up his mind by week’s end.