The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed free-agent right-handed relief pitcher Greg Holland to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Holland, 32, pitched for the National League Wild Card-qualifying Colorado Rockies in 2017 after spending his first six Major League seasons with the Kansas City Royals (2010-15).
The three-time All-Star saved 41 games in 2017, tied with the Dodgers Kenley Jansen for the National League lead and he tied the Rockies franchise single-season saves record (Jose Jimenez – 2002).
Holland has a career record of 21-18 with a 2.60 ERA in 370 career appearances covering 377.0 innings with 500 strikeouts. He has converted 186 saves in 206 opportunities and ranks 4th among MLB relievers in save percentage (90.3%) since 2010.
In 2017, Holland was named National League Comeback Player of the Year and also earned National League Relief Pitcher of the Month for April and May converting 19 of 19 saves and his first 23 saves, not recording a blown save until June 15.
Holland and Jansen are the only two pitchers with three 40-save seasons since 2013, posting 40 or more saves in 2013, 2014 and 2017, missing 2016 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, which also removed him from the Kansas City Royals 2015 postseason run.
He posted career-highs with 47 saves, 103 strikeouts and a 1.21 ERA in 2013 earning him a 9th-place finish in the American League Cy Young Award voting. In 2014, Holland recorded 46 saves and again finished 9th in the A.L. Cy Young voting.
Since 2013, Holland ranks third among Major League pitchers with 166 saves trailing only Craig Kimbrel (202) and Jansen (196). His 12.14 strikeouts/9 IP is ranked 9th among MLB relievers and he ranks 6th striking out 33.8% of total batters faced.
In postseason play, Holland is 7-for-7 in save opportunities making 12 appearances with a 2.31 ERA and 15 strikeouts with 11.2 innings pitched. He is one of six players in MLB history with seven saves in a single postseason.
Holland will wear uniform No. 56 and Bullpen Coach Bryan Eversgerd will change to No. 72.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals and Athletics have swapped a pair of right-handers. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that reliever Josh Lucas is headed to the A’s, with the Cardinals receiving minor-league starter Casey Meisner in exchange.
The 27-year-old Lucas made his majors debut last season with St. Louis, tossing 7 1/3 relief innings across five appearances. He struck out seven hitters and walked four while allowing three earned runs. Across the past two seasons in the Cardinals’ farm system, the righty posted a K/9 north of 10 and a ground ball rate of nearly 50%. He has 49 career MiLB saves, but was designated for assignment by the Cards earlier this week, a move that came as something of a surprise considering that Lucas seems to carry some upside.
The towering 6’7″ Meisner had a solid showing with the A’s High-A affiliate last season, posting a 3.98 ERA with 9.64 K/9. However, he struggled a bit upon a midseason promotion to Double-A; after that point, the 22-year-old averaged fewer than five innings per start while seeing his walk rate nearly double and his strikeout rate plummet to 5.64 K/9. Meisner was selected by the Mets in the third round of the 2013 draft, and subsequently traded to the A’s in exchange for reliever Tyler Clippard.
The St. Louis Cardinals have announced they will produce 39 Spanish language home radio broadcasts during the 2018 season as part of the club’s continuing effort to better reach the team’s rapidly growing Spanish-speaking fan base.
The club will produce the broadcasts in cooperation with WIJR 880 “La Tremenda” to provide game play-by-play from announcer Polo Ascencio and color commentary from former Cardinals Assistant Hitting Coach Bengie Molina for the team’s home opener and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday home game. All 39 home broadcasts will air on WIJR 8800 AM and will also be streamed via cardinals.com and the MLB.com At Bat mobile app.
“We are proud to partner with the St. Louis Cardinals to air these Spanish language radio broadcasts,” said Manuel Rivera, President of WIJR. “The Cardinals are doubling the number of Spanish broadcasts they aired last year and we couldn’t be more excited to bring the game into the homes of the team’s Hispanic & Latino fans.”
The expanded Spanish language radio broadcast schedule is just one of many initiatives the Cardinals have developed to provide Hispanic and Latino fans with a way to follow the team in their native language. The Cardinals have verified Spanish language Twitter (@cardenales) and Facebook (facebook.com/stlcardenales) accounts; and just recently created a verified Spanish language Instagram account (@stlcardenales). The accounts have amassed over 13,000 followers, allowing users to see real time updates about the Cardinals and unique Spanish language content designed to take fans behinds the scenes with the team.
Last year, the Cardinals launched the #SomosSTL Spanish language landing page at cardinals.com/somosstl that compiles and aggregates all of the Cardinals’ Spanish broadcast, video and social initiatives in one location for fans to easily access.
Furthermore, the club established Los Cardenales, a dedicated Spanish-language video page to house video features the Cardinals produce as part of their expanding video brand journalism efforts. The Los Cardenales video page can be found at cardinals.com/loscardenales.
Source: St. Louis Cardinals
Holland agreed to a one-year, $14 million contract with the Cardinals on Thursday, pending a physical, Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com reports.
It took them until Opening Day, but the Cardinals finally found their answer in the ninth inning in Holland. While he has been keeping his arm in shape, it seems likely that Holland will need a brief minor-league tuneup before slotting into the big-league bullpen. Dominic Leone and Tyler Lyons will share setup duties for St. Louis once Holland is active, at least until Luke Gregerson (hamstring) makes it back from the
Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny announced Saturday that Luke Gregerson (hamstring) will begin the season on the 10-day disabled list. Matheny also added that either Dominic Leone or Tyler Lyons would function as the team’s closer in Gregerson’s absence. Well this was just reported ……..Jim Bowden of The Athletic confirms in a tweet that the Braves, Diamondbacks and Cardinals have all checked in on free agent reliever Greg Holland. However, none of them feel as though they can be competitive financially based on the right-hander’s current asking price. Bowden suggests that Holland should take the best offer on the table. With less than a week left until opening day, it’s hard to argue that point.
I was somewhat surprise with Carson Kelly’s spring training performance that led him being sent down to Memphis but I am very happy that Francisco Pena is our new back up catcher. His dad Tony Pena must be very proud of him!
Pena has earned his way over Carson Kelly as back up catcher and it was this competition that gave Pena the edge to get the call over Kelly.
Pena said….. “As a backup you want to prioritize as a defensive guy, “You want to have the opportunity to show the pitchers you’re there for them. And be a good guy in the clubhouse as well because you know the role. Play the game hard. Don’t try to do too much. Have a smile on my face, always. And leave the decisions to the people in the front office.”
Source: Derrick Goold
At this point in Spring Training Yairo Munoz has my attention. With great skills in the outfield and infield it may look like Harrison Bader is in his way. In an article by Derrick Goold….”Impressive,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Yairo Munoz after the Cardinals beat the Marlins 11-4 on Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium. Munoz is now 12-for-32 (.375) with two home runs, two doubles and twice as many hits (12) as strikeouts. That 12th hit took the lead for the Cardinals this spring. And shortstop marked his fourth position played.
The Cardinals tend to carry 13 pitchers, it’s most likely that the versatile Munoz is competing with Harrison Bader and Jose Adolis Garcia for role of fourth outfielder, a race that slugging prospect Tyler O’Neill was removed from when he was optioned to Class AAA.
I hope he gets a chance.