MLB Rumors: Rockies closer Greg Holland declining his player option

Colorado Rockies closer Greg Holland is expected to decline his option for 2018 and will be a free agent this winter.

After missing the entire 2016 season recovering from Tommy John Surgery, All-Star closer Greg Holland was an interesting free agent last year. Looking to re-establish his value, Holland was able to find a deal with the Colorado Rockies for $6 million with a player option worth $15 million for 2018.

There are definitely better places for a pitcher to attempt to showcase a return to dominant form but Holland made it work in Coors Field and pitched well enough to turn down the option and seek a longer-term deal this winter in free agency.

Jon Heyman of  FanRag Sports reports that superagent Scott Boras is expected to seek a big deal for Holland given the exponential rise in bullpen importance in the past few postseasons.

Word is, with the new emphasis on the bullpen, agent Scott Boras believes it’s time for an explosion of salaries for bullpen stars.

Of course, the two biggest bullpen deals were made last year, with Aroldis Chapman getting $86 million from the New York Yankees and Kenley Jansen $80 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers. But it’s also about the emphasis being placed on the bullpen now, especially in the postseason.

A couple execs suggested they believed Mark Melancon’s $62 million, four-year deal could be a comp for Holland. But Boras doesn’t want to place limits on it.

Holland showed flashes of his Kansas City dominance during the 2017 season but wore out down the stretch. He ended the first half with a 1.62 ERA and 11.6 K/9 while holding opponents to a .161/.264/.259 line. Not unexpectedly, Holland eventually cratered in August, pitching to a 13.50 ERA in 11 appearances with flagging command and velocity.

Ultimately, Holland was able to pull things together in September with a 1.86 ERA. He finished the year with 41 saves to lead the National League and had a sub-2.00 ERA in four of the regular season’s six months.

In a free-agent class where Holland is one of two elite closers (former Royals teammate Wade Davis is the other), look for the 32-year-old to get paid regardless of his age, elbow surgery and the August hiccup. He might struggle to top any of the record-setting closer contracts from last winter but will come close. Expect the Rockies to make a hard push to keep their closer who pitched well at Coors Field and was a favorite in the clubhouse.