Posted on December 28, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Rather quietly, the Colorado Rockies showed improvement during the course of the 2016 season, and they’ve followed that up with some nice additions this offseason, again doing so somewhat quietly, as they try to sneak up on the Giants and Dodgers in the NL West. The Rockies may not be done adding pieces for 2017 either, as there are rumors suggesting that the Rockies have strong interest in signing free agent reliever Greg Holland.
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich acknowledge on Wednesday that the team does indeed have interest in Holland. Of course, he was careful to downplay that interest as best he could. “Nothing to comment on there,” Bridich said regarding Holland. “We have checked in, like most teams, I imagine.” When asked, Bridich declined to comment on a report that surfaced Tuesday indicating that the Rockies have approached the hard-throwing righty about a multi-year contract.
Holland is an interesting option for any team looking for help at the back-end of the bullpen, which is most of baseball. He sat out all of 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and was then released by the Kansas City Royals, making him a free agent for the first time in his career. He held a showcase for teams earlier this winter, but other than that, there’s no indication of how healthy he is after the surgery or capable of returning to the form he had before the surgery.
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Prior to the injury, Holland was one of the best closers in baseball, converting 93 saves in 98 opportunities between the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Holland made the all-star team both seasons and received the Mariano Rivera award for American League’s best relief pitcher in 2014. He was less dominant in 2015, which can be blamed on elbow issues, and was ultimately shut down late in the season when surgery became inevitable.
Despite missing all of last season, plenty of teams would be willing to take a chance on Holland, knowing he’s at least capable of becoming an influential part of a bullpen. Of course, if there are a lot of suitors for him, he won’t come cheap, especially when you consider the lucrative deals relief pitchers have signed this winter.
If the rumors about the Rockies offering Holland a multi-year deal are true, it would indicate how serious they are about signing him, and potentially make Colorado the favorites to land him. In the past, Bridich has spoken about the need to take risks when it comes to improving the bullpen, and offering Holland a multi-year deal coming off Tommy John surgery would be a great example of a move that’s high risk and high reward.
The Rockies have already made one bold move to improve their bullpen this offseason, signing Mike Dunn to a three-year deal. But even with Dunn being added to a bullpen that includes Adam Ottavino, Jake McGee, and Chad Qualls, the Rockies still aren’t sure how their bullpen will be structured next season. Signing Holland wouldn’t give Colorado any more clarity in the bullpen, but he would give them a pitcher with extensive experience as a closer, and if fully healthy, Holland could potentially fill that role for the Rockies.
Outside of a few rumors, there’s nothing to indicate that Holland is close to signing with a team, or if he is favoring the Rockies. However, the Rockies would certainly welcome a reliever like Holland, and there are reports that Colorado is serious about trying to sign him. Holland could conceivably sign with just about any major league club, but if recent reports are true, the Rockies may have a better chance at signing him than most.