Are the Astros the favorites to land Greg Holland?
The Houston Astros are a loaded team with very few weaknesses. As we all remember from last year, Ken Giles was a dominant closer in the regular season. That changed in the playoffs as he struggled throughout. The sole purpose for acquiring Giles was to be that shut down closer in the playoffs.
Giles did have two saves in seven games in the 2017 playoffs, but allowed at least a run in all but one game. He finished the postseason with an 11.74 ERA with ten strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Giles struggles, manager A.J. Hinch restrained from using Giles in the final two World Series games. Instead, he relied on Luke Gregerson and Charlie Morton.
Have they lost the faith in Giles?
The Astros have said the right thing, they still have confidence in Giles. He has the stuff to strike hitters out, but he made too many mistake pitches. Instead of being a bad pitcher, the playoff struggles could have been in his head. After experiencing the pressure that is the playoffs for the first time, he knows what he needs to work on for next time.
However, there could be some in the Astros organization that doesn’t trust Giles after his playoff yips. Giles had a much better year in 2017 with a 1-3 record with a 2.30 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. Giles had cut his homers allowed down from eight in 2016 to four in 2017. He was showing signs of pprogress, that was shattered in October.
According to Jon Heyman, “sources say some people within the Astros hierarchy view the closing spot as a potential issue for the team.” Heyman hints the Astros could emerge as the favorites to land some of the top closing candidates.
Who are the options?
The top remaining closer is Greg Holland, followed by Addison Reed. It’s actually amazing how many free agents are still out there with about 40 days left until spring training begins. Since the beginning of the offseason, I have thought that Holland may be a good fit for Houston. The question would be for how long?
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After missing the entire 2016 season, the 32-year-old reliever bounced back with the Rockies with 41 saves. He had a 3.61 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings. The Astros have not been one to give a long-term deal to players around his age. The signing of Wade Davis could set a standard for Holland.
Reed would be a more likely option for the Astros, as he is three years younger. He had an 2.84 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 76 innings in 2017. He had 19 saves between the Mets and Red Sox.
Holland would most likely become the closer if they added him. Reed would be another option as closer should Giles struggle. Despite winning the World Series, the Stros are trying to get better. Hopefully, it will be another busy October in Houston.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***