LA completes record deal with Greinke

Updated: December 11, 2012

The Los Angeles Dodgers have added the top available pitcher on this offseason’s free-agent market to their recent spending splurge, with the team officially announcing the signing of former American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147 million contract on Monday.

The deal, first reported by CBS on Saturday night, ranks as the highest annual salary ever given to a pitcher and rates behind only CC Sabathia’s 7-year, $161 million pact with the New York Yankees as the largest given to a hurler.

“Dodger Nation I am happy to announce we have signed P Zack Greinke, the best pitcher on the Free Agent Market!” Dodgers part-owner Magic Johnson wrote on his Twitter account.

Greinke captured the AL’s Cy Young Award while with the Kansas City Royals in 2009 after compiling a 16-8 record and an MLB-best 2.16 earned run average along with 205 strikeouts, and has been one of the game’s most consistent pitchers over the past few seasons. The right-hander posted a 15-5 mark with a 3.48 ERA in 34 starts between Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2012, one year after going 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA and racking up 201 strikeouts in 28 outings with the Brewers.

The 29-year-old owns a splendid 70-43 record while pitching to a 3.39 ERA since 2008, and has thrown over 200 innings four times during that five-year stretch.

Greinke joins a deep rotation for the deep-pocketed Dodgers that’s headlined by 2011 NL Cy Young recipient Clayton Kershaw and three-time All-Star Josh Beckett, and also now includes highly regarded South Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, whom the team formally signed to a six-year contract on Sunday.

The move also pushes Los Angeles’ projected payroll for the 2013 season above $225 million, which would be the highest in MLB history.

Greinke becomes the latest big-ticket addition to a Dodgers squad that’s spent lavishly since the ownership group that included Johnson purchased the franchise from embattled businessman Frank McCourt back in March.

The new braintrust made a pair of blockbuster midseason trades during the 2012 campaign, acquiring shortstop Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins in July and orchestrating a mammoth nine-player swamp with the Boston Red Sox in August that sent Beckett and two other high-salaried former All-Stars — first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder Carl Crawford — to Los Angeles.

Greinke will join that group — as well as his fourth team in four seasons. The former Kansas City first-round pick was dealt by the Royals to Milwaukee prior to the 2010 campaign, then dealt by the Brewers to the Angels on July 27 of last season due to his pending free agency and Milwaukee falling behind in the playoff race at the time.

The Angels had intended to make re-signing Greinke their top offseason priority, but wound up switching gears after his price tag continued to increase. Greinke also was pursued heavily by the Texas Rangers before ultimately settling on the Dodgers.