The Dodgers need backend bullpen help. All-time saves leader and free agent Kenley Jansen has a massive offer on the table from the Miami Marlins that L.A. is apparently reluctant to match. As such, the team is exploring alternatives.
Greg Holland, the former Kansas City Royals closer who blossomed into one of the MLB’s best from 2011-2015 is considered one of the better realistic choices. He met with teams at the Winter Meetings, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who specifically mentioned Holland meeting with Los Angeles.
Sources: Free-agent reliever Greg Holland met with contending teams at winter meetings, including #Dodgers.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2016
Note “contending” as a criteria for Holland’s meetings. In his most recent season, Holland closed for the world champions. It’s understandable he doesn’t have interest in rebuilding value in San Diego or Milwaukee.
Holland, whose velocity was down in his latest showcase, will likely aim for a big single-season deal with a contender. That allows him to pitch in meaningful games while assembling a resume for 2017-18 free agency, where a healthy Holland could earn an upper-tier closer salary.
The Dodgers and Holland make sense for each other for a number of reasons. From his view, assuming Jansen leaves, Holland is positioned nicely to be the uncontested closer on Opening Day. He takes the mound in a pitcher-friendly park for one of the best teams in the National League. The Dodgers can afford to give him a hefty short-term deal, and if they like him enough, they can afford to give him an extension. It’s unknown if the North Carolina native would like to sign on the west coast, but taking a meeting with the Dodgers indicates he hasn’t ruled it out.
From the Dodgers’ view, the team doesn’t break the bank on its bullpen and acquires an experienced, championship-caliber piece. If it doesn’t work out, L.A. still saved its prospects, its money and can address the bullpen at the trade deadline. If Holland rebounds, he still won’t have the leverage to command Jansen or Aroldis Chapman money, so the Dodgers could keep him on a Mark Melancon-level deal (four years, $62 million range). Even a lesser version of Holland could be an above-average setup man, which is an asset to any team.
If Jansen walks, expect talks with Holland to heat up. Andrew Friedman has a history of collected upside arms and piecing together bullpens. Holland fits the bill.