For the most part, the Pirate bullpen seems pretty set for 2017. However, it would not hurt to take a look at right-handed relief pitcher Greg Holland.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are shaping up to have a strong bullpen in 2017. This group is led by Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, and Daniel Hudson. However, as the old saying goes, you can never have too much pitching.
Insert right-handed reliever Greg Holland. Holland missed all of 2016 due to injury. Prior to this, however, he was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in all of Major League Baseball.
In 319 2/3 career innings pitched Holland owns a 2.42 ERA, 2.23 FIP, 2.65 xFIP, and a 9.8 WAR. During his six Major League season Holland averaged 12.11 K/9, 3.52 BB/9, he’s allowed just 16 home runs, and he has a career WHIP of 1.12.
Greg Holland does not allow much contact. Opposing batters own a 46.3 percent swing rate and a just a 66 percent contract rate against Holland in his career. Additionally, his 25.9 percent career hard contact rate and 20.3 percent career line drive rate allowed are both below the Major League average.
Greg Holland was a vital piece in the Kansas City Royals run to the World Series in 2014. And, prior to getting injured, was a huge cog on the Royals team that won the World Series in 2015. So Holland also brings big, important game experience.
Currently, the Pirates have a logjam of relief pitchers. However, due to at least one reliever will be traded. And it is very possible multiple relievers will be traded. Therefore, making room for Greg Holland would be very doable.
Adding a healthy Greg Holland to the back end of a bullpen that already includes Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, Daniel Hudson, and, at least, one of Tony Watson and Antonio Bastardo could create a very special bullpen. Due to this, personally, I believe the Pirates should kick the tires on Holland, and, if they feel he is healthy, offer him a contract for 2017.
Odds are, Greg Holland will be looking for a 1-year contract for 2017. This would be to allow him to re-establish value and cash in next offseason. And what better place to do that than with the pitcher whisperer Ray Searage in Pittsburgh.