The two biggest acquisitions of the off-season are struggling with their new teams. Year after year organizations shell out gigantic long term contracts knowing they are almost never worth it on the back end of the deals. However, that's simply the price of acquiring talent through free agency these days. The large market teams can afford it usually. While it's way too early to call David Price's and Zack Greinke's contracts busts the early returns haven't been great.
Through six starts this season Price has allowed the most earned runs in the American League. Yet he is 4-0. Wins are obviously a terrible stat on which to judge pitchers but an ERA of 6.14 is never a good thing. There are multiple reasons to be optimistic going forward on Price though.
The first is that he is striking batters out at the highest rate of his career. He leads the American League with 49 strikeouts and a rate of 12 per nine innings (previous career high 10.5/9). The other reason is that Price's FIP of 2.89 is actually below his career average of 3.19. FIP is a stat that measures what a pitcher can control (strikeouts, walks, homers) and is generally a better indicator than ERA of how a pitcher has performed. The Red Sox are in first place at 17-11, which should take some pressure off Price as he works through his early season slump.
There isn't as much to be optimistic about with Greinke however. Through six starts he has a 5.50 ERA with just 32 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched. Greinke's 3.74 FIP is well above his career average of 3.32, which is not a good sign. The problem for him has been home runs. He is currently giving up ding dongs at his highest rate since 2006. His 1.2 home runs per nine innings is twice as high as his 2015 rate. Part of this could be due to Greinke moving from a pitcher's park in LA to a hitter's one in Arizona but is something to be monitored.
The other concerning factor for Greinke is his strikeouts, which at 7.6 per nine are decreasing for the third straight season. While this is just a month's worth of sample size it is not something a team wants to see after handing him one of the largest contracts of all time. The Diamondbacks are in win now mode and are off to a discouraging 12-18 start.
Ultimately the track records of these guys suggest they will be fine. The struggles to start the season are not ideal, however. Whether or not they are worth their contracts is a question for another day. Price signed for the most guaranteed money ever for a pitcher while Greinke signed for the highest average annual salary of all time. Below are the 12 highest guaranteed contracts in baseball history: