The Milwaukee Brewers went ‘all-in’ for 2018 when the dealt for Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain. Why not keep going ‘all-in’, and sign Greg Holland to boost their bullpen?
There are more teams out on Greg Holland than team in on him at this point in Spring Training. The Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels are among the teams that are supposedly still ‘checking in’ on Holland. Why not the Milwaukee Brewers?
The argument for Holland?
Holland would provide a true bridge to Milwaukee Brewers closer Corey Knebel. Right now, the Brewers have Josh Hader, Matt Albers, and Jacob Barnes vying for the set up role for Knebel. Holland is a better option than all three, and would allow Hader, Albers, and Barnes to work the seventh or sixth innings instead of the eighth. This would effectively shorten games to seven innings with a pair of solid relievers at the back end of the Brewers bullpen.
In recent history, the teams that go deep into the playoffs have more than one guy they can rely on in their bullpen. They often have multiple waves of high-leverage relievers to shorten the game. Adding Holland would give the Brewers three high-leverage relief options with Knebel and Hader.
Signing Holland also gives the Milwaukee Brewers a bit more security. They recently has a small scare when Knebel tweaked his knee about a week ago. If Knebel misses extended time with an injury, there isn’t a clear line of succession for saves in Milwaukee.
The argument against Holland
Cost is a huge stumbling block in the pursuit of Holland. He just turned 32 years old and is believed to want a multi-year deal. Holland racked up 41 saves in 2017, but the peripherals weren’t great. He posted a 10.99 K/9, but he also had a 4.08 BB/9. His seven homers allowed in 2017 were a career high.
Part of his issues were related to pitching almost half his games in Coors field, but he’s also lost a few clicks off the radar gun. Holland averaged 93.5 MPH on his fastball in 2017. He averaged 95.8 MPH in 2014.
It’s also unclear if Holland would accept a set up role instead of a closer’s role. He hasn’t worked as a set up guy since 2012.
If the Milwaukee Brewers are truly ‘all-in’, a run at Holland makes sense. However, if he hasn’t signed by now, he probably isn’t interested in a short term or ‘pillow contract’ for 2018. It’s also unknown if Holland would consider a setup role. Adding Holland would look great for the Brewers on paper if the price is right, and if he would work as a setup guy, but it’s an unlikely scenario at this point. The need for an extra starter is currently greater than the need for another high-leverage reliever, and Holland’s age and price tag may scare off the Brewers.