Greg Holland Should Be On The Yankees' Radar
Peter G. Aiken-USATSI

With all the hype surrounding top tier free agent relievers, the New York Yankees could get a steal out of two-time All-Star, Greg Holland. 

As the World Series reaches its conclusion, the New York Yankees will likely have their eyes set on Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. And rightfully so.

Since 2010, only three relief pitchers have struck out more than 600 batters and Chapman sits at No.2 with 636 and Jansen’s right behind him with 632. They are also both in the Top-10 in saves this decade and expected to receive big paychecks — possibly from New York.

Why? Because over the last month of the season, the Yankees blew five saves, maintained the sixth-worst bullpen earned-run average in the American League (4.43) along with the second most home runs (16).

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That was mostly thanks to the ineffectiveness of Dellin Betances down the stretch, as his 9.64 ERA and eight walks — the second-most he has allowed in any month of his career.

With that, there is added pressure to wheel in a dominant, proven closer in order to have no uneasiness as the 2017 approaches.

However, both Chapman and Jansen could end up earning contract greater than that of Jonathan Papelbon (five-years, $61 million) which turns away from the mindset of the rebuilding Yankees.

That brings us to the question: is there a cost-effective reliever that has proven to have the capabilities of a top tier closer? Yes, there is. And his name is Greg Holland.

The two-time All-Star and a closer who has finished in the Top-10 for the AL Cy Young award in 2014 and ’15 missed the 2016 season while recuperating from Tommy John surgery that he underwent last October.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Holland’s velocity is currently in the low 90s and is expected to put on a showcase for teams either at agent Scott Boras’ sports facility in Florida or the hurler’s North Carolina home.

From 2011-2014, the 31-year old registered 113 saves for the Kansas City Royals while maintaining an unbelievable 1.86 ERA and 358 strikeouts — the most in the AL during that span.

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In 2015, Holland did record 32 saves but saw his fastball velocity decline from 96.33 miles an hour to 94.29, according to Brooks Baseball.

Manager Ned Yost then announced that his closer really tore his UCL late in the 2014 season and that he pitched the whole 2014 postseason (where he pitched to the tune of a 0.82 ERA) and the entire 2015 campaign with a torn UCL.

By Sept. 18, he was shut down but is now returning to the game in which he dominated since 2011. So, should the Yankees throw Holland an offer?

For one, to clear up any uncertainty, in no way, shape or form should general manager Brian Cashman withdraw from pursuing Chapman or Jansen for the sake of betting on a successful return from Holland. That is utterly foolish. 

What he could do, however, is create another productive bullpen unit that is freakish from top to bottom.

Banking on the addition of either one or two of the top closers on the market, Girardi would be able to slide Betances down to his comfortable eight inning role and Tyler Clippard (10.3 K/9 in 2016) into the seventh.

Then, he’ll have Tommy Layne and Richard Bleier to employ against lefties and the duo of Adam Warren and a healthy Greg Holland coming out of the middle relief unit.

Even with a few members of the Scranton Shuttle that may find themselves on the roster, this is not only one scary bullpen but one that can lighten the load on a rotation full of question marks.

In the end, if Holland turns out to be ineffective or health poses a concern, he will likely earn a minor league deal or a contract with little dedication for a team nor a high salary. With that, this is the type of guy you take a gamble on (or at least a spring training invite with a bonus for innings pitched throughout the regular season).

Plus, if Holland can maintain a 3.83 ERA while pitching with a torn UCL, imagine what a healthy version of him will be like. If you’re thinking about his 2011-14 self, our imaginations are quite similar.

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