“Would you part with one of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez for a closer such as [the Royals’ Greg] Holland?” asks Bob Elliott in a piece filed Sunday night for the Toronto Sun.
At least, not unless it suddenly became 1996 and you completely forgot what closers are worth.
Holland has been superb for three straight seasons — and especially the last two, over the course of which the highest ERA, FIP, or xFIP he has posted was this year’s xFIP of 2.10 — striking out 284 batters in his last 196.1 innings.
Like… that’s ridiculous. The projection systems don’t expect him to keep it up, but his velocity has held strong around 96 over the span (it dipped by less than a rounding error in 2014) and he maintained his excellent results through the Royals’ outstanding October run.
But you don’t trade 200 or 220 dependable innings for 65 great ones. And you don’t trade upwards of six years of a young, cost-controlled starter for two of a reliever who is projected to earn $9.3-million in his second last pass through arbitration.
I mean… maybe if you had starting pitching coming out of your ears. Or maybe if you didn’t have budgetary concerns and thought for sure you’d be replacing whoever you might trade with an even better free agent. But when moving someone like R.A. Dickey means bumping Dan Norris or Marco Estrada into the starting rotation, making Todd Redmond, minor league free agents, and hopes placed on guys in A-ball your next line of defence?
And yet Elliott tells us that “Holland is available at a high cost and the Jays are pursuing the closer.”
Image via Keith Allison/Flickr