It’s coming from Jon Heyman, so take this for what it’s worth, but:

Free agent closer Greg Holland is seeking an unusual two-year deal with a one-year opt-out that could allow him to re-test a free agent market that showed a strong affinity for closers this winter.

Holland’s interest in such a deal should be no surprise after three of the biggest stars of this year’s class were Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon.

Holland is drawing interest from the Rays, Dodgers, Nationals, Rockies, Brewers, Reds and others. The Cubs met with him before acquiring Holland’s Royals replacement, Wade Davis. The Royals have shown some interest, as well, as they are looking to beef up their vaunted pen, though they may not be too likely at the moment.

Holland, a 31-year-old right-handed reliever, missed all of 2016 following Tommy John surgery. Before that, he had a pretty good five year run as an effective reliever for Kansas City. Then he blew out his elbow.

He certainly fits the profile of a relief pitcher that the Reds are trying to target: a guy who has had success in the past, but might scare off some teams because of his recent health issues. As GM Dick Williams said, when discussing recent signee Drew Storen:

It’s not typical you can find a guy with a track record like that available to a team like us. So, there’s going to be something there that scared teams off a little bit. … There are no risk-free signings at this end of the spectrum.

That said, Holland was an elite closer before the injury, and there are some teams with deep pockets who are reported to be interested in his services. But he’s the type of guy that makes a lot of sense for the Reds, even if Holland is looking for a two-year deal, as has been reported. And, as Doug Gray notes, the Reds might actually have something important that they can offer Holland: a chance to close out games.

The Reds can offer something many teams probably can’t: The chance to close. Coming off of surgery, other teams may be less than willing to offer that chance. If he goes out and shows he’s capable, others may be more willing. Of course, coming off of surgery, he may not be able to close as often as some other guys. With the Reds also having Drew Storen, there could be some wiggle room in there to get both guys save chances – especially early in the year as Holland is eased back into the relief role.

Seems to me like a good gamble for the Reds to take, if they can convince Holland to come here. Best case scenario, he returns to form and the Reds can flip him for someone who will be a member of the next good Reds team. (Well, the actual best case scenario is that Holland is the closer for the 2017 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds.) Worst case scenario is that he’s bad and the Reds have wasted some money on him for a couple of years. It’s not likely to be a tremendous amount of money, but I realize that I normally wouldn’t advocate spending big dollars on the bullpen for a rebuilding team like Cincinnati. Holland appears to be a good risk. I’ve never been wrong before, but I guess it’s possible that I’m off-target here.

The other part of the equation in my mind is that there’s the added benefit that, if the Reds can add more reliable relievers to the bullpen, they might be more inclined to do the smart thing and give Michael Lorenzen (or Raisel Iglesias) a shot at sticking in the starting rotation. So the Reds get an MUCH-improved bullpen for 2017, plus (possibly) Lorenzen as a starter?

Not exactly the stuff of dreams, but it’s a start.

22 Responses

  1. Jeff

    But would he be a good mentor to our younger pitchers? I think we are wasting money and roster spots. We need to let our younger players lead the team.

    • redsfan2016

      Yes, but you can’t just throw young pitchers in there from the bullpen and expect the team to be successful. Bringing in a guy who has proven himself to be close to elite at one point can only help the bullpen and the young guys to develop more, a la Scott Rolen.

      • Jack

        I agree if he is not going to command a lot of money. Let’s not forget how many games the bullpen lost last year. I know it sounds crazy but if the Reds get solid contributions from the bullpen maybe the wild card can be a shot. Hey you never know.

      • redsfan2016

        I completely agree 100%. I do not think he is looking for a ton of money, due to “blowing up his elbow” last season. He really could be a solid benefit to this team.

      • Chuck Schick

        The same Scott Rolen who went nuclear in both St. Louis and Philadelphia? It’s rather impressive when a guy is able to complain his way out of 2 cities….but he was gritty and gutty so I guess that makes it all OK.

      • David

        I find your lack of faith in Veteran Presence disturbing – Darth Grande

    • Coach V

      Lorenzen + Iglesias = 2/3 of the way getting back to the Nasty Boys style of baseball. Storen the 3rd part? Should be looking for arms to fill the relief role leasding up to the 7th inning.

  2. Kap

    I’m on board with this. I feel like giving Lorenzen the chance to start one last time makes the most sense. Too much talent there not to. And you are right Chad. With adding Holland, that gives the Reds a chance to do this. Even if we flip him at the trade deadline, it would be a smart move (in my opinion of course). The Yanks got A LOT for trading Chapman at the expense of 2 months at the deadline.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      While it gives the Reds a chance to look at Lorenzen as a starter, my question is whether the front office/manager have completely closed the door to that idea. I hope not but I’m wondering.

  3. sandman

    This question popped into my mind yesterday when hearing about this story. Assuming that the Reds sign Holland and he and Storen have good seasons along with the rest of the bullpen and the starting rotation and the offense is clicking and we’re surprisingly playing winning ball by the trade deadline. Do the Reds still try and trade Holland and Storen or do they hold onto them to see just how far they can go? I think it would probably be downright stupid to trade them in that scenario. But the reason this interests me is bcuz the Reds are basically looking for one year stopgaps to get us to 2018 when we’ll supposedly be ready to contend again and all these promising kids who just didn’t cut it in the rotation fill up our bullpen. So, what if everything comes together and the entire team is playing well & winning ballgames, including the stopgaps, do the Reds trare the stopgaps or keep them? I know that some of you will say that there’s no way the Reds will be playing winning ball so there’s no reason to be talking about this. But I’m asking you to just open your mind and consider what would you think would happen in this situation.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I agree with I-71. If somehow the Reds are contending (seriously contending, not lingering at the fringes of the wild card melee), you go for it. Just because everyone is saying that 2018 will be the year for contending and winning does not mean that will happen.

    • Craig

      I like this hypothetical. “Going for it” is all relative, I do not see it as an “either-or” scenario. If the Reds are in contention at the deadline and Holland and/or Storen are pitching well, I think we have the pitching depth to flip one or the other (or both) if the right deal(s) comes along. For example, if Mesoraco/Barnhart are unable to perform, and Baltimore needs relief help, you jump all over a 1-for-1 deal for a guy like Chance Sisco if that is offered. Such a move has the potential to make you better now and moving forward. Likely? Absolutely not, but my point is that you cannot decide one way or the other whether to deal a relief pitcher based only on the fact that the Reds are in contention at the deadline. It has been discussed here ad nauseam that, given the volatility of RPs, if you can get an MLB-ready prospect for a rental, pull the trigger every time.

  4. Tom Mitsoff

    It is fun as a Reds fan to actually be talking about acquisitions and possible veteran acquisitions and what impact they may have. But the Reds should NOT give Holland a two-year contract with a player opt-out for year two — at least not at the $10M he is supposedly asking for. There is no benefit to a non-contending team in that scenario, other than a veteran bullpen innings eater, and you might as well try a younger guy in that role instead of shelling out $10M. But if his price comes down to the Storen range … why not?

    • Kap

      It would be nice if it dipped down that low, but I don’t see that happening. If it’s for 6 or 7 million a year, it’s a no brainer at that point. Dude is very talented. The timing of his injury couldn’t have been worse.

  5. big5ed

    I guess it pretty much depends on what the number is for his salary. His surgery was in early October 2015, whereas Homer’s was in May 2015, so maybe he will be recovered and maybe he won’t. Let’s face it, though; if he’s back to his old self, then he will opt our of the contract. If he’s not any good, then the Reds will have overpaid.

    I am not sure that the upside of a prospect for him at the trading deadline is worth the $X million they would have to pay from April through July.

  6. Scott Carter

    If it convinces Reds management to try Lorenzen, then I think it is worth it. That could help the rebuild as much as anything.

  7. ohiojimw

    So, if you are running the Reds and have $5M to commit to a flyer deal do you spend it on Holland or on a SS who doesn’t figure in your future and is blocking your potential future SS? Which might bring more at the deadline? Which is the best risk? Such is the business side of things……

    • Reaganspad

      Why are they mutually exclusive?

      We are adding talent and improving the roster.

      $5.0 mil is budget dust for a good player

      We have spent a lot on players that were not good in the past. If a little more gets you a better player and improves the roster, do it

      • ohiojimw

        $5M here, $5M there, $5M everywhere for “little” deals that are ??? from the get go (Schumaker, Hannihan et al). That’s the story of the Reds but then they plead poor when they need $8-12M to really do something.

      • Reaganspad


        At first I thought you were disagreeing with me, but you are advocating for spending more money. I agree.

        And no hannihans…

        We have enough fliers on our own team in the young players we currently have.

        But a few wise bullpen pieces and this team will be fun for 2017

        I like the first one. $5.0 million more for Zach will not kill the team. And we can afford another reliever.

        Depth at SS is never a bad thing, and Zach is a good teammate. He is not the issue

  8. Coach V

    Lorenzen + Iglesias = 2/3 of the way getting back to the Nasty Boys style of baseball. Storen the 3rd part? Should be looking for arms to fill the relief role leasding up to the 7th inning.

  9. Eric The Red

    It’s frustrating–if it’s true–that who we sign might have a bearing on whether Lorenzen gets an opportunity to start. If Lorenzen (or Iglesias) is physically capable of starting, then it would be a crime to put him in the bullpen in order to strengthen the bullpen. I’ll take a bullpen of Hoover, Ondrusek, and Micah Owings in 2017 if we develop 5 or more strong starting pitchers this season.