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 MLB.com’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.