LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Diamondbacks' biggest offseason acquisition is set to make his first appearance against the team he represented for three seasons and helped win three successive division championships.
Right-hander Zack Greinke, who spurned the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent to sign a six-year contract worth $206.5 million, will pitch against his former teammates Monday evening when the Diamondbacks begin a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
From 2013 through 2015 with the Dodgers, Greinke won 51 games and compiled a 2.30 ERA. He also finished among the top 10 for the National League's Cy Young Award all three seasons, including second last year to the Chicago Cubs' Jake Arrieta, while winning two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger award.
Last year, Greinke led the major leagues with a 1.66 ERA, collected a career-high 19 wins and started for the NL in the All-Star Game. In 222 2/3 innings, the 12-year veteran conceded just 40 walks and 148 hits while amassing 200 strikeouts.
The Diamondbacks hoped Greinke and other offseason acquisitions as Shelby Miller and Jean Segura could combine with Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas to ignite a surge toward playoff contention. Instead, Arizona is battling the San Diego Padres to stay out of last place in the NL West.
Greinke (12-4) leads the Diamondbacks in wins, but his ERA has ballooned to 4.17, his worst since 2010. He has already allowed 140 hits while striking out just 114. Away from Phoenix's Chase Field, Greinke owns seven victories but a 5.50 ERA.
Last week, the Dodgers expressed interest in re-acquiring Greinke after he cleared revocable waivers, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported, as the right-hander's departure in January further depleted Los Angeles' thin rotation. However, Rosenthal reported that discussions did not proceed very far, and USA Today's Bob Nightengale added that the Diamondbacks would not trade Greinke during the offseason.
Opposing Greinke on Monday will be the veteran signed to replace him, right-hander Kenta Maeda(13-8, 3.37 ERA). After eight seasons with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan's Central League, Maeda signed an eight-year contract worth $25 million in January, one month after Greinke joined the Diamondbacks.
In his final season in Japan, Maeda led the Central League with 15 victories, compiled a 2.09 ERA and limited opposing hitters to a .222 average. That performance enabled Maeda to win the Sawamura Award as the best pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball for the second time.
Maeda will pitch with a full week of rest after his last start. The 28-year-old rookie collected six strikeouts in five innings Aug. 29 against the Colorado Rockies, but he allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in an 8-1 loss. Those runs were the result of a Nick Hundley two-run homer.
“That one pitch, a slider, was definitely a mistake,” Maeda told MLB.com through an interpreter regarding Hundley's homer. “Overall, I thought I pitched pretty well. I always want to pitch longer, but that one pitch led to the team losing.”
Before that defeat, Maeda won his previous four starts and earned victories in five successive decisions since July 23. During that stretch, he allowed 28 hits and only seven walks in 33 2/3 innings while getting 30 strikeouts, compiling a 3.74 ERA and allowing permitting hitters to bat just .226. However, Maeda also conceded six home runs in that span.