Holland declines $15M player option

Rockies expected to pursue closer in free agency

Holland declines $15M player option

DENVER -- Rockies closer Greg Holland officially turned down his 2018 player option and filed for free agency on Sunday, and infielder Alexi Amarista also filed after the club declined his 2018 option.

Holland, whose 41 saves tied the Dodgers' Kenley Jansen for the National League lead, met incentive thresholds in his contract to earn a $15 million option for 2018. He declined that option as expected, but the Rockies are expected to attempt to re-sign him to a more lucrative deal.

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It is likely the Rockies will make a qualifying offer of $17.4 million for 2018, but Holland, who turns 32 on Nov. 20, is expected to decline that as well. That means the Rockies are expected to have competition from other clubs in the attempt to sign Holland to a multi-year contract. But making the qualifying offer puts the Rockies in position to receive a pick in the 2018 MLB Draft should Holland sign with another club.

Holland starred for the Royals 2010-15 but missed 2016 because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. His work with the Rockies earned him the Sporting News' National League Comeback Player of the Year Award, and he is up for the same honor in the MLB Players Association's Players Choice Awards -- which will be announced Wednesday on MLB Network at 6 p.m. MT.

Holland collects 41st save

Amarista, 28, hit .238 with three home runs and 19 RBIs as a left-handed hitter and played six positions in 2017 after signing last winter for one year and $1.5 million. Because the club declined his $2.5 million 2018 option, he will receive a $150,000 buyout and become a free agent.

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The Rockies also could attempt to re-sign Amarista, whose true value is his ability to provide starter-level defense at the all-important shortstop position, where Trevor Story is the regular, though they have other options.

Right-handed hitter Pat Valaika appeared in 110 games and has shortstop experience, although his main value is as a pinch-hitter. He hit .328, scored 12 runs, hit four homers and drove in 16 runs in 66 pinch-hit appearances. His RBIs represented a record for any Major League rookie since 1958, when the official rookie rule was instituted. His 12 extra-base hits as a pinch-hitter tied him for the club record with John Vander Wal (195) and Greg Norton (2003).

The Rockies could retain Minor League middle infielder Daniel Castro, who appeared in 80 games with the Braves in 2015 and 2016 (.217, 2 HRs, 12 RBIs) and spent last season at Triple-A Albuquerque.

The Rockies' No. 1 prospect, Brendan Rodgers, 21, hit a combined .336 with 18 home runs and 64 RBIs in 89 combined games at Class A Lancaster and Double-A Hartford. The Rockies are giving him experience at other infield positions. Realistically, he still needs experience before making his debut, and is being groomed to be a regular rather than a utility type.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.