Greg Holland Chooses Colorado as New Home

15 September 2015: Kansas City Royals Pitcher Greg Holland (56) [8308] flips to third base for a force out during the ninth inning of the game between the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. Kansas City defeated Cleveland 2-0. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Colorado Rockies came so very close to contention in 2016. The young squad, powered by the emergence of shortstop Trevor Story, found itself in the fight for a Wild Card spot near the middle of the season. Unfortunately, they could not maintain that level of play as the season wound down. That experience and the presence of a new manager could help them make that final push in 2017, but they still need help. With that in mind, the Rockies signed veteran pitcher Greg Holland to a one-year contract on Wednesday. The deal includes a vesting option for a second year.

Greg Holland Chooses Colorado as New Home

The right-handed reliever made his MLB debut in 2010 for the Kansas City Royals, with whom he has pitched his entire career thus far. In 2012, he became Kansas City’s full-time closer in 2013, and has since been one of the best in the game. The 31-year-old recorded his best season in his first on the job. That year, he racked up 47 saves and a whopping 103 strikeouts (in just 67 innings), while finishing with sparkling ERA (1.21) and WHIP (0.87) figures. In 2014, he was almost as good, as he picked up 46 saves and 90 strikeouts in 62.1 innings.

Unfortunately, 2015 did not go nearly as well. Though he still saved 32 games, his ERA and WHIP ballooned enormously, and his campaign was ultimately cut short due to injury, and subsequently Tommy John surgery. Holland missed the entire 2016 season, and Wade Davis, now a member of the Chicago Cubs, took over as Kansas City’s closer.

The good news for Colorado is that Tommy John is not the death knell for a pitcher’s career that it once was. These days, most hurlers who undergo the procedure make full recoveries, and some even perform better in its wake. By the time opening day rolls around, it will have been 18 months since Holland last threw a pitch in the regular season. His elbow will have had plenty of time to heal up.

The Rockies have a solid, young offense, and a good starting rotation. Chad Bettis, Tyler Chatwood, and Jon Gray comprise a promising 1-2-3. Adam Ottavino, last season’s part-time closer, performed admirably in limited work. However, he will likely cede the closer’s job to Holland. With Ottavino working the 8th and Holland finishing games off, Colorado could now potentially have a bullpen worthy of the rest of their team. Look for the Rockies to make some noise in the NL West in 2017.

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