Ignore the Temptation, Greg Holland Makes No Sense for Mariners

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 23: Greg Holland
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 23: Greg Holland /

In the midst of Wednesday’s Spring Training game, the Mariners announced a bit of bad news. David Phelps, the multi-inning set up man, will miss the entire 2018 season with a torn UCL.

The news was a blow, and as usual, Mariners Twitter was quick to demand free agent Greg Holland. Holland led the National League with 41 saves, and would certainly help the Mariners bullpen. So why not sign him to bridge the gap to Edwin Diaz? For 3 key reasons.

1. Draft Pick

Holland received the qualifying offer from the Rockies this winter. That means the signing team will have to forfeit a draft pick to land Holland. Because the Mariners do receive revenue sharing, but are currently under the luxury tax, the Mariners would have to forfeit their 3rd highest pick.

For the Mariners, their 3rd highest pick is their 3rd round pick, which figures to be around pick 85-90. Signing a reliever to a 1 year deal while losing a high draft pick is not smart business. But if you still want the Mariners to spend on Holland, fine. But you don’t get to complain about a weak farm system anymore.

2. The Money

Holland reportedly turned down a 3 year, $52 million offer from the Rockies. He also turned down the qualifying offer, which would have paid him $17.2 million for 2018. At this stage, the best Holland can hope for is probably a 1 year deal in the neighborhood of $8-$10 million.

The Mariners are already pushed up against their ceiling pretty tight, as evident by the total lack of interest in more expensive pieces to replace Ben Gamel and Erasmo Ramirez. If Jerry Dipoto only has $10 million left to spend in 2018, do you really want to spend it now? Or wait for the trade deadline when you will know exactly what holes you need to fill.

Holland posted a 1.4 bWAR season in 2017. Assuming he does that again in 2018, is the 1 extra win worth $10 million and a Top 100 draft pick? No.

3. The Mariners have… depth?

As weird as it is to admit when looking at almost every other aspect of their organization, the Mariners do have really good bullpen depth. Ryan Cook, Casey Lawrence, and Art Warren have all looked really good this spring.

The Mariners also brought in 3 bullpen pieces in the past 3 days. If Marco Gonzales, Ariel Miranda and Rob Whalen can pitch well enough to hold down the back half of the rotation, Erasmo Ramirez becomes a very Phelps like pitcher in his own right.

Dipoto has done a good job of stacking quality arms into the Mariners farm system, preparing for an event just like this one. We will see numerous bullpen pieces waived and DFA’d over the next week. I expect Jerry Dipoto to be active in that market.

Next: An Outside the Box Idea for Dipoto

But perhaps for the first time this off-season, my advice for Jerry would be this: don’t throw money at this problem. You have the depth, and cheaper options will be available. It’s not like Holland wouldn’t help. He would. But at the end of the day, you’d be doing more harm than good.