Baseball, of course, has a lot to do with money.
Players move money, teams love money, the league loves money. As fun and as entertaining as it may be, it is a business, after all.
So when Greg Holland, who hasn't pitched since 2015 due to Tommy John surgery, still gets $7 million in guaranteed money from the Colorado Rockies, a lot of us nod our heads in an "uh-huh" type of fashion.
His contract can max out at $10 million with incentives if he does not close a single game, and it can be worth up to $14 million if he closes regularly. To me, that's crazy for a guy who hasn't thrown a professional inning in 479 days.
I am not saying Holland isn't worth $7 million in guaranteed money. When he was healthy, he was one of the five best relievers in the game. That'd be a bargain. But, again, we're looking at a true unknown. We do not know what Holland is capable of.
Regardless, that's not the point of this article. What I'm still trying to figure out, however, is how this marriage came together, outside the financial investment.
From the Rockies' point of view, this has to be looked at as a one-year deal. It does have a vesting option for 2018, but again, who knows?
And, if the Rockies are signing Greg Holland for 2017 and not for the future, does this mean they think they are. . .dare I say it. . . contenders?
You could argue that the Rockies established their willingness to contend by signing Ian Desmond earlier in the offseason. I'd agree with you, but I'd like to point out that Colorado signed him to a five-year deal, meaning that they may think they can contend within the next five years. That, at least, I don't think is as farfetched, considering the wealth of young pitching they have in their system to go along with the young stars they already have.
But Holland's deal, to me, is more curious thinking.
The Rockies won 75 games last year, finishing 3rd in the NL West and 12 games out of a playoff spot.
FanGraphs' projections peg the Rockies to improve in 2017, but not nearly enough to make any run into the playoffs with a 78-84 record. They're projected to finish 17 games out of the division title and six out of a Wild Card spot.
So, how does Holland fit into the equation? I'm not so sure. Any form of the old Greg Holland will certainly help Colorado, but he isn't the piece that gets them into the playoffs. They still, at least from what it seems, are not close to a postseason birth.
That covers the Rockies' side of this deal, but what about Holland? Does going to Colorado provide any sort of benefit for him?
Right now, outside of the money, my answer is no.
Most likely, Holland will be setting up to Adam Ottavino, who posted an eye-popping 11.67 K/9 last year over his 34 games.
Holland could have found a closer's job elsewhere. The Phillies, for instance, do not have a surefire closer from Opening Day. (Of course, a fit might not be great there from the team side, either.) The Nationals could have worked from both sides.
But Colorado? This means that Holland is going to try and revive his career pitching as a set-up man in Coors Field. To me, that just does not seem like a recipe for success.
Perhaps Holland could not get nearly as much money from other teams as he did from the Rockies, and I get that. Colorado, it is known, will overpay for pitching in order to lure free agents to Coors Field. It worked with Boone Logan three years ago.
But if Holland wants to set himself up for a bigger contract next offseason (or whenever he is a free agent next), this deal doesn't make much sense from his perspective.