Womack: Zack Greinke’s big contract could cost him the Hall of Fame

From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on April 20, 2016:

For anyone who studies ballpark factors, it might have been apparent that Zack Greinke made a mistake when he signed a $206.5 million free agent deal with the Diamondbacks.

From 2013 to 2015, Greinke enjoyed the greatest stretch of his career, going 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA for the Dodgers. He particularly dominated at home, going 28-5 with a 2.01 ERA, while racking up a 23-10 record with a 2.61 ERA on the road.

Researchers like Bill James have noted that when Sandy Koufax morphed from a lefty with control problems into the finest ace of the mid-1960s, it was partly due to Dodger Stadium, which boasted a towering mound and coastal air.

The traditional narrative goes that Koufax found success after catcher Norm Sherry convinced him to throw less hard in spring training in 1961. Surely that helped Koufax, as did baseball widening the strike zone in January 1963. But Dodger Stadium served Koufax and many other pitchers supremely well, with Koufax going 57-15 with a 1.37 ERA at home from 1962 to 1966, while going 54-19 with a 2.57 ERA elsewhere.

Perhaps Greinke could have been his generation’s Sandy Koufax. But in assessing free agent deals, it’s doubtful many ballplayers think about which ballparks will best serve their legacies. Mostly, they just chase the money. It’s why hulking sluggers like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mo Vaughn wind up toiling in Anaheim, and why every few years, Coors Field swallows another Mike Hampton or Denny Neagle.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb-news/4702685-zack-greinke-hall-of-fame-diamondbacks-dodgers-royals-brewer

Originally published: April 22, 2016. Last Updated: April 22, 2016.