The Rockies are “making a big push” to sign free-agent righty Greg Holland and are believed to be close to a deal, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). Colorado has long said to be interested in Holland, who has reportedly been seeking a two-year deal with an opt-out after the first season of the contract. Holland is represented by the Boras Corporation.
The 31-year-old Holland missed all of the 2016 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery that was performed late in the 2015 campaign. Prior to that operation, however, he was one of the game’s top relievers and a key factor in the Royals’ return to prominence. From 2011-14, Holland tossed 256 1/3 innings of 1.86 ERA ball with 12.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 with a 44.4 percent ground-ball rate. Holland racked up 113 saves in that time and anchored the Royals’ bullpen in the 2014 postseason, throwing 15 innings and allowing one run with a 15-to-5 K/BB ratio.
A year later, when the Royals won the World Series, Holland watched from the dugout following his operation. He’d pitched to a 3.83 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 in 44 2/3 innings prior to going under the knife. Incredibly, at the time Holland’s injury was reported to the public, manager Ned Yost suggested that Holland had unknowingly suffered a tear of some degree in his UCL back in Aug. 2014, which would mean he pitched the entire 2015 campaign with a tear in the elbow. The Royals reportedly recommended medical examination on numerous occasions, though Holland declined. Presumably, the tear was minimal in nature at first, but it progressed to the point where it was termed a “significant” tear by the tail end of the 2015 season.
If completed, a Holland deal would be yet another step in what’s been an active offseason for the Rockies. Colorado has clearly been operating in a win-now capacity, as evidenced by the team’s signing of Ian Desmond to a five-year, $70MM contract (which cost them the No. 11 overall pick in the upcoming draft) and the addition of lefty Mike Dunn on a three-year, $19MM deal.
With the Rockies, Holland would likely be the favorite to pitch the ninth inning, though he’ll presumably have to prove healthy and effective enough to push past incumbent candidate Adam Ottavino. That duo and the newly signed Dunn will pair with holdovers Jake McGee, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls to comprise the relief corps for first-year Rockies manager Bud Black. Also in the mix for ’pen jobs in Denver will be lefty Chris Rusin and right-handers Jordan Lyles, Carlos Estevez and Miguel Castro.