The Los Angeles Angels could use a sixth starter. With uncertainty regarding guys like Griffin Canning, Chase Silseth, and other younger pitchers the Angels have on their 40-man roster, they could use a veteran to round out the rotation.
One of the few free agents left is Zack Greinke. The former Angel has some intrigue and there're also reasons to not pursue him.
Why the LA Angels should sign Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke has been one of the better pitchers in baseball since debuting back in 2004 with the Royals. He's won a Cy Young, is a six-time all-star, and has even won five Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. One thing missing from Greinke's mantle is a World Series championship. While he's unlikely to get it if he signs with the Angels, he'd at least help them get to the postseason.
Greinke is coming off of a season where he posted a 3.68 ERA in 26 starts and 137 innings pitched. He walked just 1.8 batters per nine and allowed just 0.9 HR/9. He had a 111 ERA+ and a 4.03 FIP.
The argument for Zack Greinke is simple. He's done it before. He's been in just about any situation you'd want a pitcher to be in and he's still, at age 39, a decent pitcher. He's not who he was, but he has the ability to give you five innings and a chance to win. There isn't much more you can ask for from a fifth or sixth starter.
Greinke has been an Angel before, as the team acquired him in the 2012 season. He made 13 starts for the Halos and pitched pretty well for the club, posting a 3.53 ERA. After leaving the Angels Greinke thrived with the Dodgers so he's excelled in the SoCal area in his career.
You know what you're getting at this point from Greinke. He's not the ace he once was, but he shouldn't cost you too many games. While the ceiling isn't particularly high, the floor is higher than using someone like Canning or Silseth as the sixth starter.
Why the LA Angels should not sign Zack Greinke
While he's been reliable thus far, at age 39 anything can happen. Eventually, Greinke will end up being unusable, and you don't want him in the rotation if/when it happens this season.
He's lost just about all of his velocity, as he averaged just 89.3 mph with his sinker this past season. He was never a very hard thrower, but losing velocity isn't ideal.
While Greinke does a great job at avoiding walks, he still has a lot of traffic to deal with on the bases. He gave up 157 hits in 137 innings pitched, a number that is not inspiring in the slightest. He required a lot of clutch outs to get through his starts. It's reasonable to expect him to come through being the veteran he is, but he probably won't have a sub-4.00 ERA again if he allows over 10.0 hits per nine.
Greinke's strikeouts are WAY down. He struck out 73 hitters in his 137 innings, a 4.8 K/9. There's pitching to contact, and then there's this level of pitching to contact. Batted balls can easily find the wrong spot even if it isn't hit hard, another reason to expect Greinke to have a more difficult time of it this season.
I'm more interested in the Angels trying to make a trade or going after one of Michael Wacha or Johnny Cueto. I like Greinke as a veteran who's been here before and succeeded in just about any situation but there're too many reasons to think he'd be pretty subpar.
Would I be upset if the Angels signed him? No. He'd come cheap and would be an awesome mentor for what's still a relatively young rotation. I think the upside is very low and it's hard to rely on the floor when so much of it is dependant on luck and your defense.