Free agent righty Greg Holland took the hill for scouts yesterday as he sets the stage for his return to action. The former Royals closer missed all of 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he’ll play an interesting role in the market with multiple big-payroll clubs among those seeking power arms at the back of their respective bullpens. Despite the long injury layoff, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes rates Holland 23rd in earning power among free agents, noting that a wide variety of organizations could pursue him. Joel Sherman of the New York Post covered the showcase, and we’ve also heard additional reports about which teams were represented.
Here’s the latest:
- The most important aspect of the appearance was Holland’s health, and Sherman writes that scouts came away feeling optimistic in that regard after seeing 35 pitches. Though the typically fireballing righty sat in the 89 to 90 mph range with his fastball, he’s obviously still building up arm strength. One scout explained that Holland worked with “good extension” in showing off his heater and ballyhooed slider, suggesting he’s ready to continue working back to his prior form.
- Agent Scott Boras argued that his client, who’ll soon turn 31, represents a great value for teams unwilling or unable to sign top closers Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon. He predicted a multi-year deal, with a two-year arrangement laden with incentives possibly making sense for all involved. It remains to be seen just how much cash teams will be willing to promise Holland, who had faltered in 2015 while pitching through the elbow problems that ultimately resulted in surgery. But the upside is undeniable: from 2011 through 2014, he compiled 256 1/3 innings of 1.86 ERA pitching with 12.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.
- All told, about sixty scouts were on hand to watch, says Sherman, with about 18 clubs putting eyes on the righty. We had previously heard that the Giants, Red Sox, Rangers, and Yankees would be joined by the Twins in attendance. Sherman notes that GM Bobby Evans and a top scouting exec were on hand for the closing-needy Giants, with the Yankees also sending top talent evaluators. He also lists the Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Phillies as organizations that sent reps. The Royals, too, were watching their former hurler, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets, as were the division-rival Tigers, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck (Twitter link). And the two top NL East clubs — the Nationals and Mets — were also intrigued enough to send scouts, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post (via Twitter) and ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin.