Rockies 'check in' on Holland

Former Royals closer had Tommy John surgery October 2015

December 28th, 2016

DENVER -- The Rockies have "checked in" with free-agent right-hander -- one of the game's top closers before missing 2016 because of a right elbow injury, general manager Jeff Bridich acknowledged on Wednesday.

BSN Denver, citing a source, reported that the Rockies have approached Holland with a multi-year contract. Bridich did not confirm anything beyond monitoring Holland, who underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2015.

"Nothing to comment on there," Bridich told MLB.com. "We have checked in, like most teams, I imagine."

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Bridich said this month that he planned to monitor the relief market, but he didn't know if free agency or a trade would be the team's method for improvement. The Rockies, who had the Majors' highest relief ERA last season at 5.13, added lefty , most recently with the Marlins, on a three-year, $19 million contract with an additional $1 million available through games-finished thresholds.

While Bridich didn't make clear how interested the Rockies are, there is a connection with Holland. Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster was the Royals' assistant to the general manager and pitching coordinator from 2010-12. That overlapped with Holland breaking into the Majors.

Holland's 145 career saves with the Royals include 32 in the regular season in 2015 -- when he pitched with ligament damage until being shut down in September. The Royals would win the World Series with as closer, and they non-tendered Holland after the season.

Before the injury, Holland averaged around 96 mph on his fastball. He earned All-Star Game invitations in 2013 and '14, when he finished with 47 and 46 saves, respectively, compiled a 1.32 ERA and struck out 39 percent of the batters he faced in 133 games spanning 129 1/3 innings.

Holland, 31, threw 35 pitches for scouts in Phoenix in early November. His fastball ranged from 88-90 mph and he displayed his slider. Reviews were that he looked healthy, with the hope that time and further strengthening will allow him to approach top velocity.

The Rockies also bank on a full return to health for righty , who missed the first half of last season because of Tommy John surgery, and lefty , the closer in 2016 before a left knee injury in June sent him to the disabled list and limited his effectiveness the rest of the year, among other improvements.

The reported one-year contract with utility man , which the club hasn't confirmed, would bring the Rockies' Major League roster to the limit of 40. To bring in someone else on a Major League deal would require the team to clear a spot.