The Rockies’ signing of Greg Holland — who has a 1.14 ERA, 12.2 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and 23 saves in 23 2/3 innings thus far after missing the entire 2016 season to injury — was the best free agent move of the offseason, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes. With all the uncertainty surrounding Holland’s return to the mound, Olney writes, the Rockies focused on learning about Holland’s character. Rockies bullpen coach Darren Holmes, who, like Holland, has an offseason home in Asheville, North Carolina, was a key to the team’s attempt to find out about Holland. “I know he’s got the trust of everybody — and he’s got the trust in spades,” says Rockies GM Jeff Bridich of Holland. “This is a man who is hell-bent on getting back to where he was before he was hurt.” Joining the Rockies on the list of teams who made the best offseason signings are the Pirates, Rays, Red Sox, Cubs and others. Here’s more from out of Colorado.
- Manager Bud Black has been a key to the Rockies’ surprisingly strong season, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The best quote in the piece, though, comes from Nolan Arenado, who explains why Holland has been such a breath of fresh air for the Rockies. “He seems in so much control,” says Arenado. “Closers here since I’ve been here, they’ve haven’t been very, uh, you know, you’ve been kind of nervous when they come in. When he comes in the game, it feels really good.”
- The Rockies’ pitching staff is having success this year with the help of an inexperienced catcher, Tony Wolters, Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. Earlier this week, former Dodgers scouting director Logan White told MLBTR contributor Chuck Wasserstrom about his team’s decision to draft an infielder named Russell Martin and convert him to catcher. Wolters began his pro career as a shortstop and second baseman, then underwent a similar conversion that began in the Indians organization in 2013. He’s now winning praise for his work behind the plate, just as Martin ultimately did. “Kevin Cash was living with me that spring,” says Indians manager Terry Francona. (Cash, now the Rays’ manager, was then the Indians’ bullpen coach.) “We’d go home at night and if there wasn’t a college basketball game on, then we’d talk about baseball. And we were going back and forth. And I said, ’Man, he looks like he can do this.'”