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Just one day after talks surrounding the possible acquisition of second baseman Brian Dozier from the Twins have reached an official impasse, right-handed reliever Greg Holland may have also made a prospective deal more difficult for the Dodgers after revealing that he’s seeking a two-year deal with an opt-out clause after the first season.
Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports initially reported the demands from Holland, and while no type of salary guidelines have yet to be released, a high number of teams still remain interested. The Dodgers, Rays, Nationals, Rockies, Brewers and Reds headline the list, with other whispers linking the Cubs and Royals to the former All-Star relief pitcher.
And although Holland had already said that he’s open to contributing in a setup capacity instead of a closing role, there have been no indications if a pursuing team’s promise to designate him as a closer would vault that club to the top of his list.
Holland was arguably one of the most dominant relievers in baseball before Tommy John surgery ended his campaign in October of 2015, causing him to miss all of the 2016 season. Once known for his vicious slider, Holland was voted to the AL All-Star squad in 2013 and 2014, in addition to garnering votes for the AL Cy Young Award and the American League MVP. Over those two seasons, he saved 93 games, recorded a 1.32 ERA over 129-1/3 innings of work and punched out 193 batters. Holland was so good that he kept Wade Davis, now the leading candidate to close for the Cubs, limited to seventh and eighth inning duties during his time with the Royals.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, more than 60 scouts representing 18 teams were on hand to watch the 31-year-old’s showcase in November. The consensus among all in attendance was that Holland looked healthy. While he threw exclusively fastballs and sliders, his fastball was mainly 89-90 mph, well short of his 95.5 mph career average. Nevertheless, several scouts who were present believed Holland’s throwing mechanics to be fully functional.
Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors pointed out that a two-year deal with an opt-out may be especially haunting for the Dodgers, as it’s the same structure that Brian Wilson landed with Los Angeles before the 2014 season. Choosing to stay with the club after his initial season, Wilson was ultimately designated for assignment before his 2015 campaign even began.
As far as other potential eighth inning options go for the Dodgers, we took a detailed look at several possibilities last weekend. Joe Blanton is on the market searching for an attractive deal and could be had for a reasonable price, while Pedro Baez, Josh Fields and Grant Dayton could eventually settle into a setup role if the Dodgers need to go that route.