Exec open to bringing back Holland, looking more closely at internal candidates
By Thomas Harding and AJ Cassavell
MLB.com |@AJCassavell |
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Rockies can solidify their 2018 bullpen by re-signing free-agent closer Greg Holland, but general manager Jeff Bridich says he must be prepared for all scenarios.
Speaking at the MLB General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla., Bridich said he's looking to free agency -- whether it's Holland or a number of other back-of-the-bullpen arms on the market, or a trade to make sure the team can protect leads.
"We do have some internal kids who might either retain roles or step up into new roles," Bridich said. "But I do think we are going to have to look to add to our 'pen, whether it's via free agency or through trades. With the success [Holland] had, he'll certainly be a guy we talk to. Whether it's him or not, I don't know.
"We're keeping our eyes and ears open to just about everything to try to address additions to our club."
The Rockies were in search of a closer last winter but decided not to engage in the soaring bidding for Aroldis Chapman, who signed with the Yankees for five years and $86 million; Kenley Jansen, who re-signed with the Dodgers for five years and $80 million; or Mark Melancon, who went to the Giants for four years and $62 million.
But Holland, who missed the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery after helping lift the Royals to success in '14 and '15, was familiar with Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster. Also, he lived in Asheville, N.C., the winter home of Rockies bullpen coach Darren Holmes. The two sides agreed on an incentive-driven one-year, $13 million deal plus a player option, which he declined after posting a 41-save season for the Rox.
Holland also is expected to decline the Rockies' qualifying offer, worth $17.4 million. That means the Rockies would receive a compensatory pick in the 2018 MLB Draft if Holland signs elsewhere. All indications are the two sides are willing to discuss a new deal, however.
Most projections have the Cubs' Wade Davis, a teammate of Holland with the Royals, as the top free-agent option, with Holland a close second. Fernando Rodney, who had 39 saves with the D-backs last year, and Huston Street, a former Rockies closer, also are on the market. Back-of-the-game relievers such as Trevor Rosenthal, Brandon Morrow and two from the Rockies last season, Jake McGee and Pat Neshek, are available. Experts do not expect the contracts to be as large this year as last.
With Holland, McGee and Neshek all on the market, the Rockies likely will have to fill the spot of at least one or two late arms. Bridich said Adam Ottavino, who has 11 career saves but is coming off a rough 2017 (5.06 ERA), and Carlos Estevez and Scott Oberg -- both of whom went through rough patches but finished strong -- are candidates for increased responsibility.
"Otto has closed before, prior to his Tommy John [surgery]. We know what he looks like," Bridich said. "He struggled a bit, had kind of a down year. Guys like Estevez and Oberg, they have high-leverage, back-end, high-impact type of stuff.
"Handling the eighth inning or particularly the ninth inning, it's not just stuff alone. It takes a guy who is strong emotionally. But those are some of the guys who may be ready for those next steps."