Needing bullpen help, the Texas Rangers should monitor the market for Greg Holland. He could come at a bargain after a strange 2018.
The Texas Rangers still need to solidify their bullpen. There are a number of ways to do it, including signing one or two veteran relievers to short-term deals. Three-time All-Star, Greg Holland, is a reliever to monitor.
Last year was a whirlwind for Holland. First, he rejected a three-year, $52 million contract offered by the Colorado Rockies. Had he accepted, the contract would have equaled Wade Davis‘ as the largest for a reliever in MLB history. Holland must have thought he was worth more, or maybe he just didn’t want to return to Colorado.
His decision backfired in a major way. Teams shied away from him on the market, and it wasn’t until March 31st that he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on a one-year, $14 million deal.
That’s still a lot of money for one season. All he had to do was pitch well and he’d surely get another multi-year offer once the next offseason came about. The problem for Holland, however, was he pitched terribly.
In 32 appearances with the Cards, he pitched to a 7.92 ERA, allowed 12.2 hits per nine innings and posted a horrendous 2.240 WHIP. He was such a disappointment that St. Louis decided to designate him for assignment at the end of July.
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Holland’s luck then changed. He was picked up by the Washington Nationals just over a week after being DFA’d. Perhaps he just needed a change of scenery, but the former All-Star started pitching like his old dominant self. In 24 games with the Nats, Holland went 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA, allowed 3.4 hits per nine innings and saw his WHIP dip to 0.891.
As a result of an odd 2018, teams certainly find him peculiar this offseason. They don’t know if they’ll get the Cardinals’ version or the Nationals’ version.
The good news for Holland is MLB is typically a “what have you done for me lately” league. His dominance in Washington, coupled with his promising track record, should earn him a reasonable 2019 salary.
Though, teams may be reluctant to offer him more than one year based on uncertainty. Holland would have to really impress in an offseason workout to gain a trust worthy of two or more years.
What is he worth to the Texas Rangers?
One year with a figure ranging from $4 million to $6 million seems justified. Texas would sign a pitcher capable of dominating as a set up man. At his best, Greg Holland would upgrade the bullpen from below average to above average. He and Jose Leclerc would be an unstoppable duo to close out games.
Should the Texas Rangers sign Holland just to see him pitch poorly… well, that’s the risk. The club isn’t exactly primed for success this season; therefore, if they feel signing him is unnecessary, then they shouldn’t do it.
If he remains unsigned weeks leading up to spring training, maybe the Rangers can take a flyer on him. No one seems to have a read on the relief market just yet, as evidenced by the many free agents left on the board, including perhaps the top two in Craig Kimbrel and Adam Ottavino.