With the announcement yesterday that relief pitcher Greg Holland would most assuredly become a free agent, the dance between the Colorado Rockies and Holland has officially begun.
Holland will reportedly turn down the $15 million player option that kicked in at the end of the season in order to test the free agent market. There will no doubt be plenty of interest in Holland, who rebounded from Tommy John surgery to record 41 saves last season (tying for the National League lead) and solidify the back end of the Colorado bullpen. As Rockies fans are well aware, a lockdown closer in Denver is a precious commodity.
The question becomes just how precious will it be to general manager Jeff Bridich and the Colorado braintrust. It is almost impossible that Holland will return to Colorado on a one-year deal. He will likely want a multi-year deal from the Rockies, just like any other team who will pursue him in the offseason.
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Will the Rockies put together a deal that could go over $10 million per year (or more) to lock in the 31-year-old right-hander? Mark Melancon made $62 million over four years (average of $15.5 per season) when he signed with the San Francisco Giants last offseason. At the time, it was thought that that size of a contract was too rich for Colorado’s blood. Will the thought process change now seeing what Holland brought to the table for the Rockies this season and just how important a dominant closer was to Colorado?
It was rumored last season that the Boston Red Sox were interested in Holland as a part of their bullpen, but not as a closer. Current closer Craig Kimbrel is already signed for $13 million for next season but will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 campaign.
Also in the Eastern time zone, AJ Ramos is the closer for the New York Mets but will head to arbitration this winter after making $6.5 million last season. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Could the Mets show interest in Holland?
What about the Washington Nationals, a team always in search of an upgraded bullpen?
Any of those teams have deep pockets if they choose to go after Holland. Any could drove up the price for Holland’s services in a free agent market. Any could make it tough for Colorado to hang on to Holland.
It has been said that Holland likes the situation in Colorado. During talks with him in the locker room, he always spoke highly of the Rockies and the organization. There is something to be said for Colorado taking a chance on him this past season and setting him up for a larger payday in 2018. Perhaps that will tip the scales in Colorado’s favor.
A franchise that has historically spent with a smaller market mindset and a reliever who will command big dollars in the offseason. The dance has already begun.