With the 2022 regular season almost over, it is that time for us to go back and take a look at the players who appeared for the Texas Rangers this season.
Today, we look at relief pitcher Greg Holland.
In the 2020-21 offseason, the Texas Rangers signed former Kansas City Royals reliever Ian Kennedy to a minor league deal. Kennedy was coming off a bad season for the Royals, having put up a 9.00 ERA and an 8.83 FIP in 2020, and I didn’t see any point in the Rangers signing him, or any likelihood of him actually contributing at any point in the season.
Kennedy, however, had an impressive spring training, became the team’s closer, and ended up performing well in that role for the first four months of the year. He ended up getting dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies, along with Kyle Gibson and Hans Crouse, at the deadline in 2021 for Spencer Howard and others. Kennedy didn’t pitch well for the Phillies over the final two months, signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2022, and hasn’t pitched well for Arizona this year.
In the 2021-22 offseason, the Texas Rangers signed former Kansas City Royals reliever Greg Holland to a minor league deal. Holland was coming off a bad season for the Royals, having put up a 4.85 ERA and a 4.82 FIP in 2021, and I didn’t see any point in the Rangers signing him, or any likelihood of him actually contributing at any point in the season.
The simplistic view would be that the Rangers were trying to replicate the success that they had with Ian Kennedy in 2021, in getting a veteran who was coming off a bad season but who might have a little bit left in the tank, to help solidify a bullpen that was lacking in experience. More realistically, despite the superficial similarities between Kennedy and Holland, I tend to think it is unlikely that Kennedy’s success in 2021 significantly influenced the decision to sign Holland.
In any case, lightning didn’t strike twice. Holland made the Rangers’ Opening Day roster, helped in part by teams being allowed to carry a 28 man roster for the first month of the season, due to the shortened spring training after the lockout. And he appeared in the Rangers’ first game of the season, that awful 10-8 loss in Toronto where the Rangers were up 7-0 before Jon Gray left the game with an injury, and then every reliever who came into the game gave up runs. Holland’s contribution to the defeat was allowing a home run to Danny Jansen in the eighth inning, giving Toronto an insurance run to make it 10-8 rather than 9-8.
Danny Jansen, it is worth noting, did a lot of Rangers nard-kicking in 2022. He only had 17 plate appearances against Texas this year, but slashed .625/.647/1.250, with three home runs. Danny Jansen, Ranger killer.
Things didn’t really get any better after that. He allowed a pair of runs in his second outing of the season, a 10th inning appearance against the Colorado Rockies that featured a home run by Connor “Cotton Eyed” Joe. After two outings where he allowed inherited runs to score, but didn’t get tagged with any runs himself, he gave up an eighth inning, two run home run to Shohei Ohtani to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 6-2 deficit.
This Angels game was the eighth game of the season. Holland appeared in five of those eight games, all of which were losses, and wasn’t good in any of them. I was one of many who couldn’t understand why he was on the roster, given that he looked washed in 2021, and, looked even more washed in 2022.
Well, he wasn’t on the roster much longer. When Jon Gray was activated on April 19, Holland was designated for assignment. I guess you can give the Rangers credit for recognizing their mistake right away and moving on. You know, if you just really want to.
Holland was put on waivers, cleared waivers, and released, becoming a free agent. No one signed him. He might get a minor league invite for spring training in 2023, but it seems likely his major league career is over.
If Holland’s career is over, the last batter he faced in his major league career was Mike Trout. He retired Trout on an F8. I guess that is leaving on a high note, of sorts.