All-Star closer Greg Holland will seek a multi-year deal this winter after coming back strong from Tommy John surgery.
For most of the 2017 season, All-Star closer Greg Holland was an elite reliever. In his first season back from Tommy John, the three-time All-Star roared out to a fast start with the Colorado Rockies and re-established himself as one of the premier closers in the game. Holland made his third All-Star team by posting a 1.62 ERA with 11.6 strikeouts per nine in the first half. He would go on to finish the season with 41 saves to lead the National League.
Holland did have an ugly stretch in August, losing four games and pitching to a 13.50 ERA. Those struggles pushed his season ERA all the way up to 3.61, which does not quite paint a picture of how well Holland pitched for most of the year. He recorded an ERA below 2.00 in four of the regular season’s six months and also struck out more than 10 per nine in four months.
At 32 and with an elbow surgery to his name, Holland may not find a record-breaking deal the likes of which Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen signed last winter. He will still be in line for at least four years approaching $60 million when it’s all said and done. Holland certainly made the right decision to pass on his player option with the Rockies for 2018. With a small crop of elite relievers to choose from this winter, he holds the leverage. These are the five teams that should show the most interest in Holland when free agency really heats up.
5. Texas Rangers
It was less than a month into the 2017 regular season before the Texas Rangers were forced to deal with a rapidly deteriorating situation in their bullpen. Sam Dyson, who had saved 38 games with a 2.43 ERA in 2016, took three losses in the month of April with a 17.18 ERA in 7.1 innings. After a brief stint on the DL, Dyson came back with three more losses and a 5.79 ERA in 9.1 innings in May. Before he was finally released, Dyson was 1-6 for the Rangers with a 10.80 ERA and 31 hits allowed in only 31.2 innings.
After seeing Dyson spiral out of control, the Rangers went with a closer by committee. As a team, Texas had only 29 saves in 2017, with Alex Claudio leading the way with 11. Matt Bush also saved 10, but struggled to build on his strong rookie season. The starting rotation is also a big area of need for the Rangers this winter, but if an elite closer like Holland falls into their price range, it would not be surprising to see them pull the trigger.