The Kansas City Royals and former AL Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke are reportedly getting set for a 20-year reunion. Greinke was selected by Kansas City as the sixth overall pick during the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Apopka High School and it was reported on Wednesday that the 38-year-old hurler is headed back to the team over 11 years after first departing the franchise.
During Greinke’s run with the Royals from his big league debut in 2004 through the 2010 season, he was largely a victim of being surrounded by poor starting pitching and brutal run support, but still managed to go 60-67 with a 3.82 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, while posting 12 complete games and three shutouts. After battling his well-chronicled issues with anxiety and depression in the early portion of his career, Greinke began turning his career around during the 2008 campaign.
The 2009 season was Greinke’s best in a Kansas City uniform though, as he went 16-8 with six complete games, three shutouts, a career-high 242 strikeouts and a major-league best 2.16 ERA and AL-best 1.07 WHIP. He made his first All-Star team that year and won the AL Cy Young award as well.
After never making the postseason with a struggling Royals franchise, Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in December 2010 for a package of players that included now-two-time-All-Star Lorenzo Cain — who is currently in his second tenure with the Brewers — and 2015 All-Star Alcides Escobar. Both Cain and Escobar helped Kansas City win the 2015 World Series.
Greinke went 16-6, recorded over 200 strikeouts for the second time in his career in 2011 with Milwaukee, and earned his first taste of the postseason, though he struggled in three playoff starts. He was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in July 2012, but signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers that offseason.
The Orlando, Florida native spent the next three seasons with the Dodgers, making two All-Star teams and going 19-3 with a league-leading 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 2015, both of which are career-best marks. He earned three more All-Star nods with Arizona Diamondbacks from 2016 until he was traded to the Houston Astros in July 2019.