Last winter, it seemed that relievers were the center of attention, thanks to top closers such as Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon all on the open market. Those three closers combined signed for $228 million with the Dodgers, Yankees and Giants taking on huge contracts.
The same interest for relievers during the current free agent period will not be reached, but talented pitchers are now available. Here are the top three relievers on the free agent market.
At the top the list of relievers who are now free agents is Wade Davis. The right-hander is 32 and few MLB relievers have had the success Davis has had since moving from the starting rotation into the bullpen five years ago. Since that time, his ERA is 2.78, his WHIP is 1.195 and his K/9 ratio is 10.3 across 447 innings.
Davis has been a closer only two and a half years, but has accumulated 76 saves since 2015 with an ERA of 1.65 since then. In addition, because he was once a starter, he can throw multiple innings as needed. While he is close to Chapman and Jansen in talent, his age might keep him from signing a deal comparable to theirs. However, it will be comparable to the $62 million that Melancon signed.
Next on the list would be Greg Holland. The right-hander who is 32 pitched well in 2017 after missing the entire 2016 season following Tommy John surgery. He finished the season with 41 saves and an ERA of 3.61 for the Colorado Rockies. Before his injury he dominated as a closer for three seasons with the Royals. Expect Holland to sign a big deal similar to Davis, who was his bullpen mate in Kansas City.
Next on the list would be right-hander Brandon Morrow. The 33-year old pitched well in 2017 for the Los Angeles Dodgers which means he should see a big payday during the offseason. He pitched what seemed like each night during the postseason for the Dodgers as he was called on 14 times before the Dodgers eventually lost to Houston in seven games in the World Series.
While that workload might scare certain teams, Morrow showed he can go multiple innings as well as pitch back to back to back and more. Last season was the first full year Morrow had been a reliever after injuries had slowed him, and he showed his dominating ability, allowing no home runs over 42 2/3 innings and an ERA of 2.06, with a strikeout to innings pitched ratio of 10.2 and a WHIP of 0.916.