The Diamondbacks have signed right-handed reliever Greg Holland to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million (plus another $3.5 million in potential incentives), as a hodgepodge of reporters listed below efforted on Wednesday:
Greg Holland’s deal with Arizona is for $3.5 million with performance bonuses that can double it. @ByRobertMurray, @Ken_Rosenthal and @JonHeyman were on it.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 30, 2019
Holland, 33, is a three-time All-Star and served as the primary closer (up until his late-September 2015 Tommy John surgery) for both the 2014 and 2015 AL pennant-winning Royals clubs. After missing a year due to the operation, he bounced back with the Rockies in 2017, leading the National League with 41 saves and reaching the All-Star Game.
But Holland and agent Scott Boras obviously misinterpreted his market last offseason, rejecting a $15 million player option, a $17.4 million qualifying offer, and a reported three-year $52 million contract from the Rockies. He remained on the free-agent market all offseason, and after signing a one-year, $14 million deal with the Cardinals on Opening Day, he rushed through a minor-league conditioning assignment, arrived on April 9, and promptly endured the worst struggles of his career, posting a 7.92 ERA and 2.24 WHIP with three blown saves over 32 appearances for the Redbirds.
Holland was released on August 1, signed a deal with the Nationals on August 7, and actually had success down the stretch with Washington. Over 24 appearances, he threw for a 0.84 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP, collecting three saves in three opportunities. In addition to the obvious cachet that he still maintains, those two good months were presumably crucial in getting him a big-league deal this offseason.
Holland is the first established free-agent addition to Arizona’s pitching staff during what has been a very quiet offseason for the Diamondbacks (though they did sign former Rays draftee Merrill Kelly, who spent the last four seasons in South Korea, to a major-league deal). D-Backs GM Mike Hazen has a history of success on the bargain-bin reliever market, with Jorge de la Rosa, Fernando Rodney, J.J. Hoover, T.J. McFarland, Fernando Salas, and Tom Wilhelmsen among the inexpensive bullpen arms who have made solid contributions to his club over the last two seasons. Even in a year where they’re not expected to do much, the D-Backs will hope that Holland can enjoy that same type of resurgence — hopefully, for their sake, to an even greater extent — so that they can perhaps consider flipping him to a contender for prospects at the trade deadline.