2:29pm: Holland has indeed been activated, with Mayers being optioned out to Memphis to clear a spot on the 25-man roster, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Trezza.
9:40am: Monday marks the day that Greg Holland is eligible to be activated and added to the Cardinals roster, and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Cards intend to do just that in advance of tonight’s game against the Brewers.
Holland signed a one-year, $14MM contract with the Cardinals on Opening Day and figures to slide into the team’s closer role, where he’ll supplant the struggling Dominic Leone. Goold notes that a roster move will need to be made and suggests that right-hander Mike Mayers, who has pitched sparingly thus far in 2018, could be optioned out to open a spot for the new St. Louis closer. The Cardinals would prefer Mayers to log regular innings, per Goold, as opposed to receive sporadic work as a long man. One reliever who, unsurprisingly, isn’t presently in danger of being optioned for Holland or for the eventual return of Luke Gregerson is flamethrowing young righty Jordan Hicks, whom manager Mike Matheny praises in Goold’s piece.
The Cardinals punted their second-round pick in order to add Holland on his one-year deal, taking advantage of a collapsed market for the 2017 NL saves leader. In doing so, they’re banking on the belief that Holland’s disastrous August — 14 runs and four homers in 9 2/3 frames — was attributable to some arm fatigue in his first season back from Tommy John surgery and is not a portent for similar struggles down the line.
Holland will likely be eased into things with the Cardinals, as he’s still made just two appearances for the Cardinals’ Class-A Advanced affiliate, during which he was tagged for a solo homer but also recorded a pair of strikeouts without issuing a walk. For the time being, though, it’s easy to imagine that the Cardinals could be reluctant to pitch him on back-to-back days — and certainly not on three consecutive days.
[Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]
With Holland now on board, he’ll front a relief corps also featuring Leone, Hicks, Tyler Lyons, Bud Norris, Matt Bowman, John Brebbia and Sam Tuivailala. That group is hardly set in stone, as Gregerson’s return will push one of the less-experienced arms off the active roster. (Brebbia was only just recalled over the weekend and could potentially be optioned back to Memphis down the line.) St. Louis is also light on left-handed relief at the moment due to the fact that both Brett Cecil and Ryan Sherriff are also on the disabled list. There’s no hard timeline on the return of either southpaw, though Sherriff’s outlook is less troubling, as he’s on the shelf with a fractured toe. Cecil, meanwhile, hit the DL with a shoulder strain in late March and, as Goold notes, felt pain in his ankle yesterday and was prescribed at least a day in a walking boot.