Greg Holland
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Cardinals sign Greg Holland to one-year, $14 million deal


Three days into the 2018 season, the Cardinals finally have themselves a closer. Free agent reliever Greg Holland signed a one-year, $14 million pact with the team, according to an announcement made Saturday. An additional report from’s Mark Feinsand suggests that Holland will be eligible to earn awards-based incentives, though the specifics of that agreement are not yet known. Since the righty rejected the $17.4 million qualifying offer issued by the Rockies last fall, the Cardinals will be forced to relinquish their second-round pick in the 2018 draft and $500,000 of international bonus pool funds.

Holland, 32, is on the cusp of his eighth season in the majors. While he’s five years removed from his peak performance with the Royals in 2013 — which saw him deliver a career-best 47 saves, sub-2.00 ERA, and 3.0 fWAR — he still has something to bring to the table. The right-hander bounced back in 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and polished off his one-year gig in Colorado with a 3.61 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 57 1/3 innings. He also led the NL with 58 games finished and 41 saves.

The right-hander may not be immediately useful to the club, especially after spending most of the long, fruitless offseason waiting for a multiyear offer to roll in. As he shakes off the rust and prepares to assume the closer spot — which could happen as soon as Thursday — the Cardinals will continue to roll with a combination of Dominic Leone, Tyler Lyons, Jordan Hicks and Mike Mayers as needed.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Alex Reyes was shifted from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Reyes missed the 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and is still working his way back to the mound. He pitched to a 1.57 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 46 innings for the club during his rookie season in 2016.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.