The Rangers announced this evening that reliever Greg Holland has cleared outright waivers and elected minor league free agency. That was always the likeliest outcome once Texas designated him for assignment on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old will now have an opportunity to explore offers from all 30 clubs. He’ll presumably be looking at minor league pacts, as he was this past offseason. Holland tossed 55 2/3 innings over 57 outings for the Royals last year, but he managed below-average production. He posted a 4.85 ERA with a personal-low 21.8% strikeout percentage and an elevated 10.7% walk rate. That led him to sign a non-roster deal with Texas, although Holland cracked the Opening Day roster and locked in a $2.1MM base salary for this season.
Texas remains on the hook for that money. Any team that signs Holland would only owe him a prorated portion of the league minimum salary for whatever time he spends in the big leagues, which would be subtracted from the Rangers’ tab. Despite feeling comfortable enough with his Spring Training form to carry him out of camp, Texas didn’t give Holland much of a look. He made just five appearances in Arlington, serving up as many runs over 4 2/3 innings on six hits (including a trio of homers).
One of the game’s elite late-inning stoppers during his 2011-15 peak in Kansas City, Holland’s performance has been up-and-down since he underwent Tommy John surgery late in the 2015 campaign. He returned to save 41 games with a 3.61 ERA for the Rockies in 2017, but he posted an ERA of 4.54 or higher in three of the four seasons between 2018-21. The lone exception was the shortened 2020 season, when he pitched to a sterling 1.91 mark with a 27.7% strikeout rate during a reunion year with the Royals.
Despite his recent struggles, Holland shouldn’t have a problem finding a minor league deal somewhere. Not only is he a respected 12-year MLB veteran who reached heights few of his peers matched, Holland has still generated swinging strikes at a solid rate in recent seasons. His average fastball checked in at a capable 93.8 MPH during his brief look in Texas.