Cubs reach deal with reliever Holder

December 17th, 2020

The Cubs agreed to terms with former Yankees reliever on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal for 2021 on Thursday, the club announced.

Holder, 27, was non-tendered on Dec. 2 after producing a 4.38 career ERA with 15 holds across five seasons (157 games) with the Yankees. He notched 165 strikeouts compared to 53 walks in 176 2/3 innings in that span. The 6-foot-2 right-hander was a sixth-round MLB Draft pick by the Yankees in 2014 from Mississippi State University.

In 2020, Holder was 3-0 with a 4.98 ERA in 18 relief appearances for New York. In eight games from Aug. 20-Sept. 13, Holder allowed just two runs (one earned) in 10 innings before ending the season with eight runs in his final three outings (4 1/3 innings).

Holder’s signing puts the Cubs' 40-man roster at 36 players and gives the club bullpen depth heading into 2021. With reliever Jeremy Jeffress -- one of the Cubs’ key relievers this past season (1.54 ERA) -- a free agent this offseason and Ryan Tepera non-tendered, the Cubs have bullpen openings for the taking.

Those spots can be filled through internal options or cost-effective outside options, like Holder. The more arms the Cubs have, the more competition there will be in Spring Training. The Cubs added Robert Stock off waivers from the Red Sox on Dec. 2 and now have snagged Holder, but their search for bullpen help likely isn’t over this offseason. The club could turn its attention to veteran help, especially from the left side, in the coming months.