Next to Ryu Hyun-jin, that clever Sa-o-jung… But after 107 years of dishonor, he’s gone.

Zack Greinke (40, Kansas City) is one of the most cerebral pitchers in Major League Baseball. He’s not an overpowering fireballer, but he has long been one of the league’s best pitchers with a precise delivery and a mix of pitches that keeps hitters guessing. He was so good at it that he gave the impression of manipulating hitters.

Greinke made his major league debut in 2004 with Kansas City, but his talent began to explode in 2008. After earning his first double-digit win total (13) in 2008, he was consistently one of the best pitchers in the league. In 2009, he went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA in 33 games and 229⅓ innings pitched, earning the American League Cy Young Award.

He’s also a familiar face. While his 224 career wins in the major leagues are impressive, he also became a household name in Korea as a teammate of Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto) when he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2013 to 2015. At the time, Greinke was the second starter and Ryu the third, behind Clayton Kershaw (35), who was the team’s ace. Fans in Korea affectionately referred to him as Sa-oh-jung because of his unique quirks, likening him to a character from Journey to the West.

Even during his time with the Dodgers, Greinke’s velocity was down from his peak. However, he still possessed an elaborate arsenal of pitches and command values. He pitched with pride even after becoming a free agent and joining Arizona in 2016. From 2013, when he turned 30, through last year, his age 39 season, Greinke was 132-63 with a 3.13 ERA in 284 games. They don’t call him a Hall of Fame prospect for nothing.

But Greinke is in the twilight of his career. He turns 40 this year. Last year, he signed a one-year contract with Kansas City, the team that started his major league career with a bang. Initially, there was speculation that last year would be his last, but Greinke wasn”t ready to call it quits just yet.

After going 4-9 with a 3.68 ERA in 26 games last year, his hometown team offered him another year. The team wasn’t looking for a winner, but rather a cheap veteran pitcher who could mentor younger players, and Greinke fit the bill. Greinke accepted the offer and re-signed for one year and $8.5 million.

I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, but his numbers this year are embarrassingly bad. Through Sept. 19, Greinke is 1-15 with a 5.39 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) and 128⅔ innings pitched this season. It’s been 18 years since Greinke has posted a sub-5 ERA since 2005, when he was 22 and not yet a complete pitcher.

Gronkie’s pitches are also limited. After averaging 94 miles per hour (151.3 km/h) in his prime, Greinke’s four-seam fastball average has dropped to 89.7 miles per hour (144.4 km/h) this year. No matter how clever a pitcher is, eventually he has to put the ball in the strike zone. Hitters are no longer afraid of Greinke’s pitches. Greinke is walking 1.7 home runs per nine innings this year.

As bad as he’s been pitching, his team, Kansas City, has one of the worst offenses in the league. Along with Oakland, they are tied for the worst team this season. It’s hard to get much run support, so the losses pile up against a pitching staff that should be winning games. The result is 15 losses. Conversely, they only have one win.

Greinke is only the fifth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw more than 100 innings in a season with 15 losses and only one win. That’s because few teams would keep a pitcher with a 1-15 record in their rotation. The last one was Jack Navarro (Philadelphia) in 1916. That’s a whopping 107 years ago. While Gronkie’s record is partly his own fault, it’s also a reflection of the environment in Kansas City, which is ripe for disgrace.스포츠토토

The season is coming to a close, and there’s not much time left for Greinke to escape the “one-win pitcher” label. If the season ends like this, it’s possible he’ll retire in historic disgrace. Greinke hasn’t yet finalized his thoughts on extending his career next year. He has already achieved both riches and fame, so it’s not out of the question that he could end his career this year.

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