St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals reportedly reach deal with closer Greg Holland

Greg Holland
Greg Holland

The St. Louis Cardinals have come to terms on a contract with free agent closer Greg Holland.

Jon Heyman of FanRags and Mark Saxon of The Athletic reported Thursday morning that the sides have reached terms pending a physical. John Mozeliak, the Cardinals' president of baseball operations, confirmed it from the team's season opener at Citi Field in New York.

According to multiple sources, the deal is for one year at $14 million.

Holland and his agent, Scott Boras, turned down a three-year, $52 million contract that would have kept the right-hander in Colorado. He also refused a $17 million qualifying offer. The Rockies, in turn, signed Wade Davis away from the Chicago Cubs.

Holland last year led the National League with 41 saves. He is the last remaining top-tier free agent on a slow-to-develop market.

Holland, 32, has averaged 34 saves over seven seasons, the first six of which were spent in Kansas City. His best year was 2013, when he saved 47 games with a 1.21 ERA in 67 innings.

Holland was selected to the All-Star Game for the third time in his career last season after a strong first half in which he saved 28 games in 29 chances with a 1.62 ERA and 43 strikeouts over 33.1 innings.

He slumped in the season's second half, saving just 13 more games with a 6.38 ERA after July. Most of his struggles, however, came during an especially rocky August in which he allowed 14 earned runs in 9.1 innings and struck out just eight batters.

In September, as Colorado held off a late charge by St. Louis and Milwaukee for the final National League wild card spot, Holland gave up just two earned runs in 10 appearances.

Cardinals closers last season blew 17 saves as the bullpen allowed 32 percent of its inherited base runners to score. Seung Hwan-Oh was allowed go to free agency without an offer from St. Louis, as was Trevor Rosenthal, who will miss this season after having Tommy John surgery.

Mozeliak tagged free agent pickup Luke Gregerson as the team's ninth-inning stopper during the annual Winter Warm-Up in January. But Gregerson was limited to three innings in spring training due to a strained oblique. He'll start this season on the disabled list with a strained hamstring.

The team said as recently as Wednesday that it was prepared to enter the season with a closer by committee.

Dominic Leone, acquired in the trade that sent Randal Grichuk to the Torono Bluejays, was at the head of a group that also included left-hander Tyler Lyons and right-hander Bud Norris.

The Cardinals also added rookie Jordan Hicks to the roster Tuesday, after they had broken camp in Jupiter, Florida. The 21-year-old with a 102 mph fastball originally was slated to start the season in double-A Springfield but has been projected as the Cardinals' closer of the future.

The New York Mets were also reported to have interest in signing Holland.

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