In one of the odder sagas of the offseason thus far, Rob Bradford reports that the Red Sox are one of “several teams” that are showing aggressive interest in former Royals closer Greg Holland.
Typically, showing interest in a marquee reliever wouldn’t be all that odd. But with Holland, it comes after what appeared to be a pretty disheartening showcase saw him barely touching the low 90s with his fastball which, from a flamethrower like Holland, should have not simply raised red flags, but have set off the fire alarm and sent sirens screaming all over the place.
And yet, here we are, with Holland just over a year removed from Tommy John Surgery and failing to come close to his old velocity levels, and teams are apparently racing one another to offer him some pretty significant cash:
#MLBSources: RH reliever Greg Holland will see 2-yr offers, worth $10-20M a season & lots of incentives to increase its total value.— Matthew Cerrone (@matthewcerrone) November 14, 2016
It’s one thing for Holland to show he’s still capable of looking like a pitcher. It’s another thing entirely to show he’s all the way back from Tommy John Surgery. It’s possible that, when Holland resumes throwing again in five weeks, he’ll show he can still hit his old levels. If he does so, then these figures start to make more sense. Until that point, though, it seems like an awful lot to be taking on faith.
Of course, it’s possible that the plan is to wait and see, with teams effectively jockeying for future position once Holland shows the old closer is still around. And at that point, he does become quite the attractive option, with the uncertainty of his health leaving him available on unusually short years for a pitcher of his quality. And if Holland is Holland, then he’s better than any other player the Sox might find to take the eighth.
But that’s a big if, and one we likely won’t have an answer to for another five weeks. With the Sox crunched on roster space in the bullpen, and unable to store much relief talent in Pawtucket, it would seem awfully reckless to see them commit that kind of money and that roster spot to such an uncertain commodity.