Colorado Rockies

Heyman | Greg Holland will opt out and aim high

Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Greg Holland delivers a pitch to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the ninth inning of a baseball game Saturday, April 8, 2017, in Denver. The Rockies won 4-2. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)jon

Colorado Rockies closer Greg Holland will not exercise his $15 million player option and instead become a free agent.

Holland will be able to earn a big multiyear deal after his very nice comeback season in Colorado. But it will be interesting to see just how big.

Word is, with the new emphasis on the bullpen, agent Scott Boras believes it’s time for an explosion of salaries for bullpen stars.

Of course, the two biggest bullpen deals were made last year, with Aroldis Chapman getting $86 million from the New York Yankees and Kenley Jansen $80 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers. But it’s also about the emphasis being placed on the bullpen now, especially in the postseason.

A couple execs suggested they believed Mark Melancon’s $62 million, four-year deal could be a comp for Holland. But Boras doesn’t want to place limits on it.

It remains to be seen where Holland would fit into the closer hierarchy, but after a third 40-save year (he finished with 41), the 2018 player option isn’t a real option. Holland is said to love Colorado, and they love him, so it’s possible he could wind up back there, just not on a one-year deal

Boras points to Holland’s great seasons in Kansas City, his amazing start (before he tired late) and a especially an environment where relievers are being re-evaluated.

Holland made a $6 million base salary in 2017, $9 million in bonuses and will receive a $1 million buyout for declining the player option, which he earned easily via games and games finished. He led the NL with 58 games finished after missing 2016 following Tommy John surgery.

There was a time when a reliever signed the biggest deal of the winter – Mark Davis with the Royals – but of course that almost was a generation ago.

They love Holland in Denver, and he is thought to like it there very much, though many teams could be seeking back-end relief stars.

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