Greg Holland to close for Diamondbacks

PHOENIX (AP) — Greg Holland is back in a familiar role as the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ closer.

“I’m comfortable in the ninth inning, so I’m glad I get the opportunity to do it again,” said Holland, who won the job Sunday over Archie Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano.

“That being said, you’ve got to worry about today. Things can change in the course of a series, so you’ve just got to stay locked in mentally and go about your business and get outs whether it’s the seventh, eighth, ninth inning, or extra innings.”

Holland, who has 189 saves in an eight-year career, agreed to a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks on Jan. 31 that calls for a $3.25 million base salary and gives him an opportunity to earn an additional $3.5 million in performance bonuses: $1 million for games and $2.5 million for games finished.

The 33-year-old Holland had 40-save seasons with Kansas City in 2013-14 and returned from Tommy John surgery to lead the NL with 41 saves for Colorado in 2017. He was 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA with St. Louis and Washington last season, when he earned $14 million. His career ERA is 2.83.

“I feel great,” Holland said. “I’m just ready to get the season started. It’s a position I’m excited about and I think we’ll have a really deep bullpen as a whole.”

Holland has a 12.27 ERA in four Cactus League appearances this spring and has given up two homers in 3 2/3 innings, but Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said the numbers were irrelevant.

“He’s been on the mound in the biggest stage,” Lovullo said. “His stuff started playing up, as we anticipated, and the command of all of his pitches seemed to develop exactly the way he had planned.”

Bradley and Hirano, who will open the season as setup men, had three saves apiece last year. Hirano, a closer from 2013-17 with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League, was 4-3 with a 2.44 ERA in his first season with the Diamondbacks in 2018.

Bradley was 4-5 with a 3.64 ERA in 76 appearances last year. Both he and Hirano were among the top six in the NL in appearances.

“There’s something to be said about getting the last three outs in a game, but for me, it’s not that big a deal,” said Bradley, who was 3-3 with one save and a 1.73 ERA during his first season in the bullpen in 2017.

“I literally don’t care what role I throw in. For me, it’s about getting guys out. When you look at the innings I’ve thrown and the competition I’ve faced, a lot of times I’ve been in bigger situations than the actual ninth inning. For me, I take just as much pride in that as in closing a game.

“Greg’s got a lot of experience closing. If I get him the ball and he’s closing, we’re winning games. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Holland would get $50,000 each for 15, 20, 25 and 30 games; $100,000 apiece for 35, 40, 45 and 50; and $200,000 each for 55 and 60. He would earn $50,000 each for 15 and 20 games finished; $150,000 apiece for 25, 30, 35 and 40; $300,000 each for 45 and 50; and $600,000 apiece for 55 and 60.