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Does Zack Greinke make the Diamondbacks contenders?

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" if a thousand Dodgers fans cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced."

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

One of the cardinal rules of sports coverage is to not overreact to big news. Big news moves us, big news impacts us emotionally. We feel shock, we feel elation, we feel pure unadulterated wrath. What happened yesterday is one of the moments that tests this rule.

The running narrative on the free agency of Zack Greinke was that either the Giants or Dodgers would sign him after a hard-fought bidding war. The Giants need someone besides Madison Bumgarner to throw the baseball, and the Dodgers need someone besides Clayton Kershaw and the grab-bag of starters behind him. Some of the other powerhouse teams had designs on employing the reigning ERA champion, but few saw this coming.

Not the Dodgers, not the Giants, but the Diamondbacks have signed Greinke, and they gave him six years and $206.5 million. It is a titanic contract, and the $34.42 average annual value of the deal is the largest ever. Ken Rosenthal also said that some of the money will be deferred a la Max Scherzer, but the fact remains that Arizona has not just thrown their hat into the ring, but fired an atomic shot across the division's bow. The Diamondbacks and their ugly uniforms are here to play ball. It would be easy to overreact and immediately crown the Diamondbacks the kings of the offseason and heirs apparent to the throne of the NL West. But are they?

In Greinke, the Diamondbacks have one of the best pitchers in baseball. The 32-year-old righty has totaled 46 fWAR over the course of his career and is coming off a 5.9-win campaign. DRA-based WARP is even higher on his 2015 campaign, awarding him 7.6 wins above replacement. He held the competition to a 1.66 ERA and DRA says that he pitched like someone deserving of a still-impressive 2.17 ERA. Greinke's 0.84 WHIP was also the best in the league.

By signing the best pitcher on the market, the Diamondbacks instantly provide a massive boost to a starting rotation that was in desperate need of octane. Arizona starters totaled a miserable 5.9 fWAR in 2015, with 3.7 of those wins allocated to Robby Ray and Chase Anderson. The total would have gone up had Patrick Corbin been able to pitch a full season, but he was limited to just 85 innings in his return from Tommy John surgery. Greinke will pair with Corbin at the top of the rotation, while Arizona will likely see if Anderson and the new competent version of Ray are sustainable. They might be one arm away from having a truly useful staff, and that's why Rosenthal's claim that the Snakes are in on Mike Leake is fascinating. The Diamondbacks also have Aaron Blair and Braden Shipley knocking on the door at Triple-A, and it remains to be seen how Archie Bradley will fair after having some down time to recover from being struck in the head with a line drive.

A staff of Greinke, Corbin, Leake, Ray and Anderson might seem a little hollow at first blush. It might be in truth. That doesn't matter when the club scored the second-most runs in the National League (behind the altitude-enabled Rockies). Paul Goldschmidt, A.J Pollock and company will keep the line moving. Greinke and his new friends just need to keep the other team from putting up crooked numbers, and the Diamondbacks will be in the game.

When they get into the bullpen, of course, things could go downhill. Brad Zeigler and Andrew Chafin still need some help there, but it won't be for long. Tony LaRussa and Dave Stewart will likely fill the gaping hole at the back of the bullpen, possibly even with Aroldis Chapman or Mark Melancon. The Diamondbacks certainly have the prospect depth to make it happen.

More importantly, Greinke will not be pitching for Los Angeles or San Francisco. The signing of Greinke is not just a massive boost to Arizona, it also creates chaos further north. The Giants, as mentioned earlier, need someone besides Bumgarner to throw the baseball. As things stand now, the Giants will likely have Jake Peavy as their number two starter. Peavy will be 35 next year and was limited to 110.2 innings this season. When he was healthy he was effective (3.87 FIP), yet his age makes everything a gamble. Matt Cain has been inconsistent and injured, and Chris Heston is nothing to write home about. Meanwhile, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Mike Bolsinger will be Kershaw's caddies. Ryu's shoulder injuries make him far from a sure thing, while Anderson and Wood are resoundingly average. Brandon McCarthy will theoretically return from Tommy John surgery sometime late in the season, but the Dodgers will need every live arm they can get their hands on. This likely means that Johnny Cueto is about to be an incredibly rich man. The Giants and Dodgers will fight tooth and nail for him, and for Hisashi Iwakuma, and possibly for Leake as well. Their loss is Arizona's gain.

It's easy to watch a team on the cusp sign a big player or two and anoint them the presumptive division winners. We did this with this year's Red Sox and Padres and, to a lesser extent, the Marlins and Mariners. However, this is a monumental addition for the Diamondbacks. Their signing of Greinke not only fundamentally shifts the foundation of the franchise, but of the entire division. There is no other Zack Greinke lying in wait out there for the Dodgers. Sure, they may sign Cueto, or trade for an ace (Jose Fernandez may very well be available). The Giants may very well sign Cueto, but it's hard to imagine them having a run of success with just two outstanding pitchers and some loose change they found in the pitching coach's locker. There is no other Zack Greinke, only pretenders to the throne and already-employed pitchers that will cost many a prospect to fetch.

Greinke is Arizona's, and in truth, Arizona is his. He and Goldschmidt are this team now. He and Goldschmidt will be the ones to shoulder the load and deliver the Diamondbacks back to the postseason if the proper secondary additions are made. One more starter, a few more relievers. They are so very close now. It's easy to see a splashy move happen and declare the splash to be not a splash, but a tidal wave of change.

This is a wave. It's a tsunami. All because the Dodgers, in all their infinite wealth, did not want to give Greinke a sixth year. That may be wise; there is no amount of money that can handle a rotting 25-man roster spot inhabited by an old and decrepit pitcher. But one team's rotting 25-man roster spot is another team's chance at a ring. The Diamondbacks did the right thing yesterday. The rest of the NL West would be wise to fear them.

Oh, and Greinke hits dingers. How cool is that?


Nicolas Stellini is a featured writer at Beyond the Box Score. He also covers the Yankees at BP Bronx. You can follow him on Twitter at @StelliniTweets.