Veteran right-hander Zack Greinke concluded his 20th major-league season on Sunday, and while he hasn't yet announced his retirement it seems like this could be the end for the quirky 224-game winner. At the very least, it marks the end of this time with the Kansas City Royals, and on Sunday the hometown fans honored him with a warm ovation.
The 39-year-old Greinke made the start against the Yankees in KC's final game of the 2023 season, and he spun five effective innings. He came out for the sixth but after issuing a leadoff walk to DJ LeMahieu, Greinke was lifted for reliever Taylor Clarke. That's when the feting began:
Greinke is rarely one for displays of emotion, but he did indeed crack a much-deserved smile after he reached the dugout.
After the game, Greinke was asked by reporters whether he had made a decision about his future, and he replied, "I don't know yet."
The Royals originally drafted Greinke with the No. 6 overall pick back in 2002. After reaching the majors, Greinke spent the first seven seasons of his big-league career in a Royals uniform. He went on to pitch for the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Astros, Brewers, and Angels before returning to the Royals prior to the 2022 season.
Much more than "just" a compelling personality, Greinke stands as one of the top hurlers of his generation. Across his 20 MLB seasons, he owns an ERA+ of 121 and a K/BB ratio of 3.92. All that adds up to career WAR of 72.2, which should lead to heavy Hall of Fame consideration once the time comes for such things. Along the way, Greinke won a Cy Young, seven Gold Gloves, and three Silver Sluggers. He also earned seven All-Star selections and pitched in eight different postseasons. Whether or not this marks the end for Greinke, his has been a truly great career.