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Rockies’ Greg Holland declines 2018 option, per report

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Holland will reportedly test free agency rather than take an easy $15 million

Colorado Rockies closer Greg Holland will decline his 2018 option worth $15 million and test free-agent waters, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Holland’s option, which was written into the one-year deal he signed last winter, vested when he finished his 30th game in late June. The 31-year-old right-hander tied a club record for saves with 41 while posting a 3.61 ERA and striking out 11 batters per nine innings.

For most of the season, it looked like a sure bet that Holland would decline his option. Through Aug. 4, the veteran reliever owned a 1.56 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 18 walks in 40 13 innings. But from that point forward, a gassed-looking Holland posted an 8.47 ERA that was complemented by declining peripherals. The late-season struggles came back to bite the Rockies in the Wild Card game, in which Holland surrendered two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Still, the All-Star closer put together a strong season overall and definitely put to rest any doubts that he’d be able to bounce back from Tommy John surgery and the ensuing recovery, even if he ran into a bit of a wall in the second half. That could get Holland up into Mark Melancon (four years, $62 million) territory in terms of a potential free-agent deal, though he may fall short of that.

The Rockies and Holland seem to have mutual interest in a long-term deal, Heyman notes, but even if Colorado is unable to retain him, the club making a one-year, $18.1 million qualifying offer would put it in position to gain a compensatory draft pick.