The Braves and Diamondbacks have expressed some interest in free-agent reliever Greg Holland, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Heyman writes that Arizona has “considered” the 2017 NL All-Star, while Atlanta has “at least checked in” on him.
Holland, 32, is coming off an odd 2017 season during which he completed his recovery from Tommy John surgery and posted a 1.62 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with the Rockies over the first half, earning a spot on the NL All-Star team, only to go into a massive slump in August, when he threw for a 13.50 ERA and 2.14 WHIP over 11 appearances while allowing opponents to post a 1.095 OPS against him. He bounced back in September and finished with an NL-best 41 saves, though the 3.61 ERA he finished the season with doesn’t exactly strike one as impressive. With that said, he managed to finish 2017 with a solid 1.15 WHIP while striking out 70 batters and walking 26 over 57.1 innings.
After a bounce-back campaign, Holland apparently thought he’d cash out on the free-agent market just like Mark Melancon, Kenley Jansen, and Aroldis Chapman did last offseason. He turned down a $15 million player option for 2018, rejected the Rockies’ $17.4 million qualifying offer, and reportedly rejected a three-year, $52 million extension from Colorado according to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale. He now remains on the market with less than two weeks until Opening Day, though, so apparently he overestimated his value.
Holland could boost a D-backs bullpen that is solid but lacks a proven closer, with Yoshihisa Hirano, Archie Bradley, and Brad Boxberger currently auditioning for the ninth-inning duties. But it wouldn’t make much sense for Arizona to give Holland a multi-year deal, as they’ll want to save up as much money as possible to try and re-sign A.J. Pollock, who is a free agent after this season, and Paul Goldschmidt, whose contract expires after the 2019 campaign. If he’s itching to sign with a team and decides to accept a one-year deal, perhaps he could be a fit in Arizona.
It wouldn’t really make much sense for Atlanta to spent big money on a closer, either, as they’re very unlikely to compete this year and already have Arodys Vizcaino, who has proven himself capable of handling the ninth inning. Since the Braves are still waiting on their homegrown prospects to come up and turn the franchise into a perennial competitor, it doesn’t seem logical that they’d try to bring in Holland on a one-year deal. And though Holland could always move to a different role if Atlanta were to acquire better late-inning options, signing him to a long-term deal may not be the best move since there will be so many more prestigious relievers available after this season. Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, Craig Kimbrel, and Cody Allen will be hitting the free-agent market next winter, when the Braves figure to be closer to competing.