Greg Holland, who surprised everyone out of the gates with a 1.62 first-half ERA while leading the league in saves last season for the Colorado Rockies, has spent the entire MLB off-season waiting for a job. Finally, as the clock struck midnight on Spring Training, Holland signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals for a cool $14 million.
The need for the Cardinals was obvious, with no real closer and lots of setup guys on staff. Luke Gregerson, their first choice for the 9th, has battled various maladies and will begin the year on the DL. Tyler Lyons and Dominic Leone are solid if unspectacular late-inning options. The real question is, then, why would the Redbirds wait so long to sign the best available reliever?
The answer is likely twofold. The biggest barrier to an earlier signing was likely Holland’s representation by Scott Boras, who notoriously will hold out for a big payday even if it means his player sits out part of the season (see Kendrys Morales, who signed in June 2014).
Another factor in buyer’s caution was Holland’s own uneven performance last season. The closer was simply awful in August, to a tune of a 13.50 ERA and 2.143 WHIP and more losses than saves. Though he rebounded strongly in September and ended the year with an excellent 11.0 k9 (which remained pretty consistent through the year), there was enough concern to give pause to other clubs with closing needs, including the Rockies who initially looked to re-sign Holland in December before moving on to Wade Davis.
Featured photo by Jake Roth