Dodgers' 'bold' approach helped sway Greinke

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers' Zack Greinke was gracious a day after losing the title of richest right-hander in baseball to Felix Hernandez.

"He's worth it," said Greinke, whose six-year, $147 million deal was eclipsed by Hernandez's seven-year, $175 million contract with Seattle.

Greinke, however, declined to publicly offer any negotiating advice to the left-hander two lockers over, Clayton Kershaw, who could become the richest pitcher in history if a contract extension is worked out this spring.

The fact that the Dodgers are willing to discuss an extension with Kershaw after committing hundreds of millions to Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and others helped sway Greinke to pick the Dodgers over other pursuers like the Angels, Rangers and Brewers.

Greinke said he wanted a team that had the least chance of needing to rebuild during his tenure, which is why he studied the farm systems of some of the interested clubs.

"It wasn't just for the farm system," Greinke said. "Some of it was the organization's ability to sustain a good team. The Dodgers need a farm system less than if I signed with, say, the Rays. Every team may be able to sustain for a period of time with the current roster, but if something doesn't go right, do they have enough to go out and keep the team competitive? My preference is to be in the playoffs every year, and only a couple teams have a good chance at that."

Greinke said the Dodgers were on his radar throughout his contract year and that he spoke with former teammates Jerry Hairston Jr. and Jamey Wright during the season for a feel of the organization.

Greinke said that when the Dodgers made their blockbuster trade with the Red Sox last summer -- acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto for James Loney and a package of prospects, picking up $280 million in salary commitment -- he thought it was "crazy."

"It was definitely bold," Greinke said. "It was a lot of money. But then you think about the talented guys; you can't get them without paying. But there was so much money involved, it sounded crazy. Then I heard how much money they'll make with the TV deal, [roughly $7 billion]."