The Arizona Diamondbacks improved by 15 games last season, to 79-83, but their progress was easy to miss. The Los Angeles Dodgers, with marquee talent and the game’s highest payroll, won the National League West. The San Francisco Giants, with three recent championships, finished second.
The Dodgers and the Giants were considered the front-runners for Zack Greinke, a star pitcher and a prize of the free-agent market. But in a surprise twist, the Diamondbacks snared Greinke on Friday with a six-year contract agreement.
The deal was confirmed by a person with knowledge of it who was granted anonymity because Greinke must pass a physical to make it official. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Diamondbacks had guaranteed Greinke more than $206 million, though much of that would be deferred.
By any accounting, Greinke is…