Holland had recently been designated himself by the San Francisco organization. He was playing on a deal that promises him $6.5MM this year and a $500K buyout on a $7MM club option (which also includes some escalators). Today’s trade, humorously, involves “a cash consideration” heading in both directions. Precisely how the sides have sorted the financials isn’t yet clear, but it seems fair to presume that the Cubs will pick up a small portion of the two-and-a-half million or so remaining on the tab.
The Chicago organization continues to cycle through lefty relievers. When Collins signed his modest, $850K deal, the club dropped Brian Duensing from its 40-man despite a $3.5MM salary. Now, the team will give Holland a look in a relief capacity.
It’s not surprising to see Holland land on his feet despite his struggles this year. The 32-year-old washed out of the San Francisco rotation after seven starts, as he failed to follow up a quality 2018 season. His ability to throw multiple innings as a long man or starter is still of appeal, particularly for a Cubs team that recently parted with Mike Montgomery.
The real appeal here, though, is the possibility of using Holland as a situational reliever. While his overall results were hardly exceptional — 5.03 ERA in 34 innings with 29 strikeouts and 15 walks — Holland has shown a velocity boost in the bullpen. Better still, he’s pummeling opposing left-handed batters, who carry a meager .182/.276/.195 batting line in 89 trips to the plate against him this season. Holland has not only induced lots of poor contact, but has drawn grounders from southpaw hitters on more than three of every four balls they put in play.
As for Collins, the 29-year-old hasn’t been tasked with much of a workload in the majors. His swinging-strike rate has dropped from a promising 11.6% rate last year to just 7.5% in his nine appearances in 2019. He has spent most of the year pitching at Triple-A, where he carries a 4.67 ERA with 12.3 K/9 against 5.3 BB/9 with seven long balls marring his stat line.