2004 to 2022: An evolution of Royals starting pitcher Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke
Posted at 1:24 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 14:24:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — It's been over a decade since Zack Greinke took the mound at Kauffman Stadium. Plenty has changed.

Greinke played for the Royals from 2004 to 2010. Now, in 2022, he is back with the team.

The last time the fan-favorite pitcher played at Kauffman, household names like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez were still batting in the minor leagues.

Greinke was playing with the likes of Joakim Soria, Billy Butler and David DeJesus.

Ned Yost became the Royals' manager in 2010 and retired at the end of the 2019 season, meaning Greinke mostly missed playing for the fiery, World Series-winning coach.

The current manager of the team is Mike Matheny, who was still playing for the St. Louis Cardinals as the catcher in 2004. He was winning a World Series while Greinke was beginning his major league career.

Dayton Moore was the general manager and brought Greinke onto the team, but he also traded him away. Moore became the team's president of baseball operations in 2022, with J.J. Picollo filling Moore's general manager duties.

Moore was essential in building the 2015 World Series team - a team Greinke played a part despite not actually being on the team.

In 2010, the Royals were keen to trade away many longtime players to get some younger arms on the field.

Alex Gordon, Greg Holland and Jarrod Dyson were called up from the minors.

Moore traded Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt to the Milwaukee Brewers in return for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and two pitchers.

Cain and Escobar would go on to be part of the World Series-winning team. Without Greinke, that winning combination wouldn't be possible.

Things have been bleak for the Royals since that World Series win. With star players moving on or retiring, it's largely been a rebuilding process for the team.

Just like in 2010, the team is starting to acquire some younger players to freshen up the team. The youngest players on the 2022 roster, infielders Maikel Garcia and Bobby Witt Jr., were born in 2000.

Greinke is the oldest player on the roster at 38.

In recent years, younger stars like Nicky Lopez, Adalberto Mondesi and Andrew Benintendi have been giving the team a boost.

The Royals struck gold by snagging Witt in the draft, and he was named the top prospect in the MLB. He'll suit up on Opening Day with Greinke at the mound.

Where the team still struggles is in the pitching staff. Greinke will be the oldest pitcher by eight years and might be able to share some experience with younger guys like Kris Bubic, Brad Keller and Brady Singer.

It's possible that Greinke was on the cusp of creating the 2015 championship team and his return could signal something else great to come with lots of fresh faces and new talent joining the team.