Free agent closer Greg Holland is seeking an unusual two-year deal with a one-year opt-out that could allow him to re-test a free agent market that showed a strong affinity for closers this winter.
Holland’s interest in such a deal should be no surprise after three of the biggest stars of this year’s class were Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon.
Holland is drawing interest from the Rays, Dodgers, Nationals, Rockies, Brewers, Reds and others. The Cubs met with him before acquiring Holland’s Royals replacement, Wade Davis. The Royals have shown some interest, as well, as they are looking to beef up their vaunted pen, though they may not be too likely at the moment.
Many of the teams do see a two-year deal as one that makes sense, since Holland missed 2016 following Tommy John surgery, and there’s a thought he could be eased back into a full-time role in ’17 before a bigger ’18 season. The one-year opt-out (the deal could also be looked at as one year plus a player option) could be the interesting twist for some teams, though.
Holland was the anchor of the Royals’ vaunted bullpen in their championship seasons until an elbow injury sidelined him and eventually caused him to miss 2016. He’s been dominant for the Royals over his last five healthy seasons. Not including his rocky 2010 debut, he’s appeared in 294 games over the past five years and posted a 2.15 ERA in 301 innings while striking out 12.2 batters per nine innings and allowing just 3.5 walks per nine. His 191 ERA+ over that time is third in baseball amongst pitchers with at least 300 innings, trailing only Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara.