If last night really was Zack Greinke's final start as a Milwaukee Brewer, it was a game I certainly will never forget.I say that in part because the bullpen failed epically we, as Brewer fans, have rarely seen a pitcher of this caliber suit up for our beloved team, and it may be quite some time before we do again. Most fans are well acquainted with his truly outstanding 2009, Cy Young-winning campaign, when Greinke put together one of the best seasons by an AL pitcher in decades. Still, many of his critics point to this as not just an aberration, but an aberration amongst a career of just "above average" seasons. This is totally false, of course. All one needs to do is look at the steadily low walk rates and the eye popping strikeout rates to see that Greinke, since re-establishing himself as a full-time starter in 2008, is one of the league's best starting pitchers. Forget his 3.83 ERA in 2011, addled by poor infield defense and a fluke home run rate. Forget his 10-14 final year in KC, when he was accused of "not caring" while maintaining his typical low walk rates on a floundering team. There are only a handful of pitchers who you can legitimately say have pitched better over the past five seasons, all but one of which Greinke spent on losing teams.My official position for the past several months on Greinke has been that Doug Melvin should stretch payroll for an extension, because he is that good. As the season went on, Greinke only priced himself further out of the team's range and was aided by a drastic climb in market price for right-handed pitching, thanks to Matt Cain (and Cole Hamels' 6 year/$144 MM extension, announced today). Many speculated in early spring that a Jered Weaver-type offer of 5 years, $85 MM could have gotten the job done (signed last fall, a contract that looked good even then). I imagine this was a starting point when Melvin began negotiations with Greinke's agent, Casey Close. But talks appeared to shut down mere days after we first caught wind that they'd begun.
read more: Zack Greinke: In Retrospective And Hindsight