Free agent reliever Greg Holland held a showcase for teams on Monday and seems to be suffering from some lost velocity. On his quest back from Tommy John surgery, the former Royals closer sat mostly in the high-80s during his workout which 60 scouts for 18 teams attended.
From 2012-2014, Holland’s average fastball velocity sat at around 96mph; a full five mph faster than the fastest pitches during his showcase. Whether this is attributable to Holland still working up strength or not, it is not great PR for the reliever that is trying to earn a free agent contract this offseason.
Greg Holland 88-91 during his workout.— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) November 7, 2016
Holland was a key contributor to the Royals’ recent dynasty that has included two World Series appearances and a Championship.
While the free agent market may lack substantial depth in starting pitching and impact bats, this season boasts some impressive relief depth. Holland will be competing with Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon, Santiago Casilla, and Brad Ziegler among others for a spot in a team’s bullpen.
While velocity isn’t necessarily the primary determinant of reliever effectiveness, many front offices seem to be leaning that direction. Furthermore, coming back from such a serious injury as an ulnar collateral ligament tear, a lack of velocity can be a daunting obstacle for teams who are looking for indications of a clean bill of health.
It may take a couple free agent relief signings in order for the market to develop for Holland, and the 30-year old may go on to have an impressive 2017 campaign for a team. However, if a market never fully forms for him, Holland may be forced to settle for a one-year deal in order to help rehabilitate his value for a better free agent push the following offseason.