There is no doubt that A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres’ management team is on the lookout for talent.
The ongoing search for players for the 2017 season is still taking place, and the Padres are surely still looking for pitchers.
The bullpen looks to be a source of strength for the 2017 team, as Brandon Maurer, Carter Capps, Ryan Buchter, Brad Hand, and Kevin Quackenbush provide a solid nucleus for manager Andy Green to call on late in games. However you can always use another solid arm in the bullpen, and the Padres will surely explore every angle in an attempt to get better.
There are plenty of options currently available on the open market, and free agent right-handed pitcher Greg Holland could be a wise choice. He is coming off Tommy John surgery in which he missed all of the 2016 season, but is still 31 years old and should have some life left in his arm.
Holland has been in negotiations with numerous teams including the Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays, Cincinnati Reds, and Colorado Rockies for a 2017 contract. He is reportedly looking for a two-year deal with an opt-out clause, or a one-year deal with a player option for the second year. The most important thing for him is an opportunity to close out ballgames and prove his worth, so he can then demand a big contract eventually on the free agent market.
The Padres could provide him the ability to earn saves, but it would be very hard for the team to compete with a team like the Nationals in terms of playoff ability. The team from Washington has been the most aggressive in pursuing Holland, but a deal has yet to be completed.
Taking a look at Holland’s numbers, you will plainly see that he has the ability to strike out hitters consistently.
The closer had two excellent years in 2013 and 2014 where he was flat-out dominant. He saved 93 games for the Royals and was an all-star both seasons while recording a 1.32 ERA and a 0.891 WHIP. He was having a sub-par 2015 season before undergoing Tommy John surgery in late September. The Royals then let him go in the off-season and he spent the entire 2016 calendar year rehabbing from his injury.
A.J. Preller has surely kept recent tabs on this pitcher and he will swoop in if the price becomes reasonable. Holland made $8.25 million in 2015, but should have a hard time coming close to that as he is an injury risk. Early indications are he wants a two-year deal at $22 million dollars, but that seems really excessive considering he was only clocked at 91-92 MPH in a workout this past November. The Padres were in attendance that day as Preller has scouted Holland continually. Teams are obviously concerned with his arm strength though, and rightfully so, as he was a power pitcher. The velocity is supposed to come back in time and he should be 100 percent once the season starts in April, but there is some concern.
The Padres are in no place to spend a lot of money on any player this winter, but they could view Holland as a great candidate to flip once he proves his health is back to normal. The price tag will be the issue though. Holland will not get anywhere near the $22 million he was originally seeking from the Padres. They are not a team going for it all in 2017, and they have no reason to risk that much money on a single player, much less one with a past arm issue.
If Holland cannot find a reasonable offer anywhere with the opportunity to close, the Padres could get him on an incentive-based deal. Greg Holland has a lot to prove this coming season and pitching for the small market Padres could be the low-key place he needs to boost his value. The Padres will keep an eye on the situation, and if everything is right, they will make a move. Spring baseball is coming. Stay tuned as the Padres continue to build their roster. Greg Holland could possibly be the Padres’ closer to start the 2017 season if everything breaks correctly for the team.