Texas Rangers rumors: Greg Holland is still a free agent after a successful 2017 season with the Colorado Rockies, and Jon Heyman says that the Rangers have considered 32 year old righthander in his latest piece identifying the various MLB rumors floating around.
While there has been talk about the Rangers possibly going after one of the three significant free agent starters still on the market — Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb or Jake Arrieta -- on a short-term deal, the Rangers have a five man rotation in place, and while they could theoretically move Doug Fister to a long-man role or Mike Minor to a fireman spot, they signed both pitchers in part due to representations they’d be starting pitchers, and I’m not sure the organization wants to go to them and say, “Hey, we changed our mind, you are in the pen” at this point. Anything is possible, and the Rangers could shuffle things around, but barring an injury, it seems unlikely they’d shuffle one of their current starters to the bullpen for a one year fix that will cost them draft picks and likely not make a huge difference in their 2018 prospects.
However, the Ranger bullpen is an area where you could see the team using some of their remaining budget -- they are, per Cots Contracts, around $35 million under their 2017 payroll — to fortify the ranks. Texas reportedly had interest in Holland last offseason, when Holland opted to sign with Colorado to be their closer for $6 million on a one year deal, and the closer situation is still up in the air in Texas.
Holland led the National League in saves last year, with 41, and was a big story early in the year when he got off to a great start and looked like his old self. Holland’s second half wasn’t as strong, however — he had a 6.38 ERA in 24 second half innings, compared to a 1.62 ERA in 33 innings in the first half, due largely to a disastrous August — and it appears that teams are evaluating him like a good major league reliever rather than being willing to pay him the Proven Closer Premium.
At this point, with Opening Day just 19 days away, Holland doesn’t appear likely to get the multi-year deal that he had been seeking. Even if the Rangers go with a five man rotation and put Matt Bush in the pen, Texas would appear to have a place for Holland. Let’s think about this pitching staff:
SP -- Cole Hamels
SP — Martin Perez
SP -- Matt Moore
SP — Mike Minor
SP -- Doug Fister
Closer -- Greg Holland
8th inning -- Keone Kela
LH Fireman -- Jake Diekman
RH Fireman -- Matt Bush
Middle relievers — Chris Martin, Tony Barnette
Swiss Army Reliever — Alex Claudio
Wild Card — Tim Lincecum
There’s not a true long man, which would mean moving on from Jesse Chavez, but you have several guys who you could use for multiple innings. This also allows you to keep guys like Jose Leclerc, Ricky Rodriguez, and Nick Gardewine in reserve at AAA for when injuries or ineffectiveness hit.
Holland probably isn’t the same pitcher he was for several years in Kansas City, when he was one of the best relievers in baseball, but he showed last year he is still a quality relief pitcher, and the Rangers could use him in their pen. Who knows how serious the Rangers’ interest in Holland really is, but its a move that could make sense.