Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: Greg Holland
Season stats: 0-2, 7.92 ERA, 32 G, 25 IP, 34 H, 1 HR, 22 BB, 22 K, 4.56 FIP, 2.240 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, -1.5 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Goat 5
Overall grade: F
Positives: Was not charged with a run in 19 of his 32 appearances….looked like things were in improving in June, when he threw 4.2 innings and allowed no earned runs and struck out seven….struck out a batter an inning after he returned from the DL in June until his release in July….limited lefties to a .205 average over the season….had a 2.63 ERA when playing for the home team in Busch Stadium or Nationals Park….batters hit just .133 against him in the second half, though much of that was in a Washington uniform….third place hitters hit .077 against him….batters hit .189 when they swung at the first pitch….limited batters to a .265 OPS when he was ahead in the count….batters had a .204 average against him in late and close situations….had a 1.08 ERA when pitching on one days’ rest.
Negatives: Signed with the Cardinals on Opening Day, thus missing out on spring training….walked four batters in his first appearance with the Cardinals, retiring just one batter….allowed three of the seven inherited runners he had to score in his time with the Cardinals….allowed three runs or more three times with St. Louis, including a five run outing against the Giants in San Francisco….allowed two runs each in four straight outings at the end of May….righties put up a .728 OPS against him on the year….gave up a .309 average away from home….had a 7.99 ERA and a .320 BAA in the first half….allowed a 1.086 OPS in May before going on the disabled list….batters had a .904 OPS on the first pitch….they also put up a 1.281 OPS when they were ahead in the count….his RISP slash line was .410/.540/.487….it didn’t get any better with two outs with runners in scoring position (.412/.474/.412)….he faced six batters after 25 pitches and allowed four hits and two walks….his three days’ rest ERA was 14.54….walked eight Cubs in 7.1 innings against Chicago.
Overview: The signing of Holland seemed like a bit of overkill. After the bullpen imploded during the season, it was clear that Greg Holland would have been a very good thing for the Cardinals, they just didn’t get that Greg Holland. Whether it was the lack of spring training that started a process that snowballed or something else, Holland never got his feet under him in St. Louis. Holland dealt with some injuries on the year but when the bullpen remodel came at the end of July, the only reason to keep Holland was the $14 million that he was being paid and by that time, it was pretty much a sunk cost. If Bernie Miklasz is right and the former manager was the one agitating for a Holland signing, that might have also been part of the case that led to a managerial change. The fact that he took a bit of a break then came back strong for the Nationals put a little bit of salt in the wound and perhaps salvaged at least some of his value.
Outlook: Even with his better results with the Nationals, you wonder what sort of market is going to be out there for Holland, who will be pitching his age 33 season next year. There doesn’t seem to be any significant buzz around him and given how hesitant he was to spend much time in the minors building himself up for St. Louis he might not be real excited about accepting a minor league contract. Whatever he does, though, it seems unlikely he’ll hold out until late March again, as he seems to have come to understand the value of spring training. I would imagine some team takes a flyer on him with a one-year deal, perhaps a rebuilding team hoping he can build value and be a trade chip at the deadline.