The Rangers have informed veteran reliever Greg Holland that he’s made the Opening Day roster, per Joseph Hoyt of the Dallas Morning News. He’ll need to have his contract formally selected to the 40-man roster before Opening Day.
The 36-year-old Holland joined the Rangers on a minor league deal and made a strong impression in camp, firing five shutout innings with four hits, one walk and six strikeouts. Holland is the third non-roster veteran known to be breaking camp with the Rangers, who’ve already informed Charlie Culberson and Matt Bush they’ve made the club. Texas will need to make a trio of 40-man roster moves to accommodate this group.
A three-time All-Star and a pivotal cog to the Royals’ consecutive World Series rosters in 2014-15, Holland returned to Kansas City in 2020 after spending three years between the Rockies, Cardinals, Nationals and D-backs. He was outstanding in his return to K.C. during the shortened 2020 season but struggled more in 2021 as his strikeout, walk and ground-ball rates all trended in the wrong direction. On the whole, Holland posted a 3.86 ERA with a 23.7% strikeout rate, 9.3% walk rate and 44.6% ground-ball rate through 84 innings between his 2020-21 Royals reunion.
The Rangers will now become the sixth club for which Holland has suited up at the big league level. While Holland could eventually be in the mix for some saves in Texas, manager Chris Woodward told Hoyt and other reporters that the team isn’t planning to designate a set closer — at least not for Opening Day. Early-season performance will likely help to dictate the distribution of the late-inning workload, as will the respective rehabs of flamethrowers Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez, each of whom is on the mend from Tommy John surgery but expected to return in the first half of the 2022 season. Leclerc’s surgery came on March 30 last year, while Hernandez went under the knife just two weeks later, on April 12.
Holland’s contract reportedly came with a $2.1MM base salary upon making the club, so that’ll be locked in once the team formally selects his contract this week. With Hernandez and Leclerc slated to open the season on the injured list, Holland will join Bush, Joe Barlow, Josh Sborz and Brett Martin as late-inning options for Woodward.