Better late than never, eh?
After the Cardinals began the offseason discussing their desire to acquire a proven closer to fill the void left behind by those who filled the role last season, it has appeared for weeks leading up to opening day that the team would instead roll with lesser-known quantities in the late innings.
This led to some consternation from fans who were hoping for a big bullpen splash, and instead got complementary pieces like Luke Gregerson and Dominic Leone. The Cardinals insisted they wanted to avoid paying market value for saves, believing it possible to navigate the most precious innings without signing a free-agent reliever to a contract they might come to regret down the road.
But on the morning of the first day of the regular season, have the Cardinals gotten the best of both worlds? Multiple reports state the Cardinals have a deal with free agent closer Greg Holland, the last big fish remaining on the open market for whom St. Louis had long been rumored as a sensible landing spot. The deal is pending a physical.
John Heyman reports the deal is a short-term deal for $14 million. For the Cardinals, this is critical as they sought to avoid hampering the payroll with a lengthy contract for an aging reliever. Now the Cardinals can use Holland as they bridge the gap to their impressive crop of pitching prospects, led by Jordan Hicks. John Mozeliak has expressed his belief that Hicks could be the closer of the future, but considering his limited minor league experience—and complete lack of big league experience—it would be preferable to ease him into a leverage role over time. The Holland signing allows the Cardinals to do that.
holland and STLCards have a deal now. $14M.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 29, 2018
The Cardinals have a deal with Greg Holland pending a physical, source confirms.— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) March 29, 2018
Last year for Colorado, Holland earned a league-leading 41 saves while finishing a league-leading 58 games with a 3.61 ERA.