Sometimes, baseball can be a waiting game for the right reasons..
The St. Louis Cardinals waited for a closer to meet their needs, and before the first pitch could be thrown today, they got one in Greg Holland. I feel like I've gotten to know the guy this past winter, being that this is my third article where he is the central subject.
On Oct. 13, I wrote this about the Cardinals and Holland: "Whatever the future holds for Trevor Rosenthal, I don't think the juice is worth the squeeze on a 3-4 year contract for a 32 year old closer." Handing an aging bullpen a four year contract is front office lunacy, an area I didn't see the Cards entering.
On Feb. 7, I revisited the Holland idea tank, noting that a two-year deal would be wise to lock down a legit closer for the bullpen.
The Luke Gregerson injury sprung things in motion this past week, because when you looked at the bullpen of this middle-ground Cardinals team, you saw excitement and potential without an ounce of certainty.
Holland gives you that certainty. He's collected at least 30 saves in his last four seasons, totaling 166. Holland's career 186 saves is higher than the eight candidates to close for the Cardinals combined.
Breaking it down:
Holland: 186 saves.
Gregerson, Lyons, Leone, Tuivailala, Norris, Mayers, Cecil: 101 saves.
That's certainty for you.
There are some who are weary of Holland's second half last year and rightfully so. The earned run average jumped along with home runs allowed, hits, and walks. However, Holland pulled it together in September, saving five games and cutting down drastically on the baserunners. You have to remember the righthander was coming off Tommy John surgery from the previous year.
Holland was bound to hit a rough patch. According to former Birds on the Black columnist Zach Gifford, Holland had a cut on his hand last August, which may have contributed to his struggles.
Bob Nightengale had details on the addition, pending a physical.
Ladies and gentlemen of the baseball jury, that is a steal. Show me another situation where a team gets a guy who saved 41 games the previous year on a manageable one year deal, and I'll show you a snake charmer.
Before the offseason started, Holland declined a $15 million dollar option from the Colorado Rockies. He now signs a deal for less to pitch for the Cardinals this year. That's how this offseason has transpired.
Kyle Reis of Birds on the Black made a good point this morning. With the signing of Holland, it's almost a certainty that Alex Reyes stays stretched out to be a starter this year for Cardinals, which is a good thing, because the rotation is the only weak-looking area on the team.
Signing Holland could place the Cardinals in the playoff race. One of the biggest back-breaking moments from 2017 was losing Rosenthal to injury and seeing a lot of one-run games disintegrate as a result. Holland changes that this year.
Certainty is the name of the game with Holland. Lately, when healthy, he is easy money for 35 saves and at least two wins above replacement.
The Cardinals may not be a great cut of meat in 2018, but adding the former Kansas City Royals closer is like adding that secret seasoning to the steak right before you throw it on the grill.
Well done, Mozeliak. Again.