Three Under-the-Radar Free Agent Upgrades for the Yankees
It is no secret that what the 2017 New York Yankees really need is starting pitching help, but they are not alone in that among aspiring contenders, which has even the most mediocre starters to receive hugely inflated deals. If general manager Brian Cashman is going to hunt for rotation help this winter, it should probably be on the trade market.
There are plenty of quality relievers available in this free agent class, on the other hand. The Yankees seem like a good bet to bring in at least one of Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon, the three elite names available. They don’t necessarily have to stop there, however.
The team probably won’t hand out two huge contracts to relievers this winter, but if they could attempt to buy-low on former Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland in an attempt to recreate their three-headed bullpen monster from earlier this season.
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Holland, who turns 31 in November, underwent TJ surgery following the 2015 season and was subsequently non-tendered by the Royals. His disappointing 3.83 ERA in 44.2 IP that year seemed to be a result of trying to pitch through a partially-torn UCL.
The previous two seasons Holland was perhaps the most dominant relief pitchers in the game, pitching to a combined 1.32 ERA and making the All-Star squad both years while receiving both AL Cy Young and MVP votes.
By Opening Day, Holland will be 19 months removed from surgery, so assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, it’s reasonable to think he could be at something resembling full strength. Obviously there is some risk in betting on a reliever who hasn’t performed at a high level in two years, but the gamble could have a huge payoff, especially if New York pairs him with Chapman and Dellin Betances in the late-innings.
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A one year $10 million pillow contract with a player option would probably get Holland’s attention, even if Yankee Stadium isn’t the most attractive park to rebuild value in. They have the financial might to outbid their competitors if they like what they see in his rehab.