The Colorado Rockies are reportedly considering external options to replace All-Star Greg Holland at closer.
For one year, the Colorado Rockies seemed to solve their revolving door in the ninth inning with All-Star closer Greg Holland. The team gambled on signing a 31-year-old coming off Tommy John and got lucky. Holland saved 41 games, was utterly dominant for about three-quarters of the season and helped get the Rockies back to the playoffs. That’s good news.
Now for the not so good news — Holland pitched well enough that it made no sense for him to utilize his player option for 2018. So, Holland is a free agent again and the Rockies are right back where they were last year; looking for stability in the ninth inning.
And, of course, we all know there’s nothing simpler than finding someone who can capably handle getting the final three outs in Coors Field. Piece o’ cake.
Judging by the early reports on the Lukewarm Stove, the Rockies are less interesting in re-signing the now-32-year-old Holland and more interested in external options. Both names they have been linked to so far — All-Stars Wade Davis and Zach Britton — make sense for the special circumstances that come with pitching in the Mile High City.
Wade Davis, like Holland, is a free agent, and might actually be even more expensive to sign. He is coming off a solid season with the Chicago Cubs where he saved 32 games and struck out 79 in 58.2 innings with a 2.30 ERA. Don’t be surprised if his asking price tops four years and $64 million. Britton is not a free agent, but is entering his final year of arbitration and could make more than $15 million in 2018. The left-hander is coming off an injury-plagued season that saw his AL-record streak of consecutive saves come to an end. Britton battled forearm and knee injuries, but his sinker should play very well in Coors Field where it pays to keep the ball on the ground.
It makes sense that the Baltimore Orioles would be willing to listen to offers for their closer this winter, but the team is up against the wall when it comes to getting what they feel is a fair return according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The Orioles believe that Britton is fully recovered from his arm trouble and that he’ll wholly regain the command that sometimes eluded him in the last two months of the 2017 regular season. But between Britton’s impending free agency, recent medical history and high salary, Baltimore probably can’t expect to get a big piece in return for the lefty who had one of the greatest seasons ever for a reliever in 2016.
Britton might be the better option in the short term for the Rockies, but harder to obtain. The Orioles were very reluctant to deal him at the trade deadline last year, and might not be willing to settle for a package that does not include at least one high-ranking prospect. Davis also has what it takes to dominate in Denver with his swing-and-miss stuff. Both are very good options for the Rockies if they ultimately decide to move on from Holland after one year.