We’ve already seen most of the backlog of high-profile free agents clear out late in camp. But one familiar name remains available: closer Greg Holland, whom we profiled in full back in January. Despite some uncertainties, he was and is quite an accomplished reliever who seemed worthy of a rather large and lengthy contract.
Though it seemed at one point he’d return to the Rockies, and reportedly had a $50MM-or-so offer on the table, Holland’s market has gone dark of late. Over the past month or so, teams such as the Braves, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Rangers have been tied loosely to Holland. The Cards seem to be the most obvious match on paper, as a contender with a fairly hefty budget and an unresolved closing situation. But they haven’t yet emerged as a strong pursuer.
On the whole, there’s simply no indication that any of those organizations, or any others, are hot after the veteran righty — let alone willing to make him a significant, multi-year commitment. True, it’s still anyone’s guess what kind of contract Holland will secure. (Remember that Alex Cobb did still score a long-term pact after the similarly placed Lance Lynn did not.) But the smart money may now be on some kind of creative, one or two-year arrangement not unlike the one he signed last winter when coming off of Tommy John surgery.
Rather than thinking about what Holland will get, though, today’s poll will focus on when he’ll finally put pen to paper.
At this point, there’s no chance that Holland will be on an Opening Day roster. Presumably, though, he’s pitching on his own and wouldn’t require a terribly lengthy window to reach MLB readiness. Perhaps, then, it’s still sensible to believe that he’ll come to agreement in relatively short order and be prepared to pitch for nearly all of the coming season.
In theory, a signing could come in the next few days. Waiting until after the start of the season to sign once was once a strategically meaningful consideration, but is not of ongoing consequence now that repeat qualifying offers have been outlawed as part of the new CBA’s tweaks to the QO system.
Of course, waiting until the season is underway might still hold some appeal for other reasons. There could certainly be some merit to waiting to see how closer situations shape up around the game. Turnover in the ninth inning is hardly a new thing, but it’s not often that a ready-made solution is standing by to be signed whenever the need arises. Organizations that face early-season crises, whether due to injury or performance, would then have an intriguing alternative in Holland.
The question, then, would become whether Holland will wait until after the June draft to ink a new contract. That was the approach taken by fellow Scott Boras clients Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew, who agreed to partial-season deals in 2014 after the draft compensation attached to their signings had dissipated. As a high-leverage reliever, Holland might be even better situated for this approach. Though he wouldn’t be marketing a full season of output, he might still earn well since he’d be valued most for his contributions down the stretch and into a hypothetical postseason run.
So, when do you think Holland will end up finally choosing his new club? (Link for app users.)