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Holland on Cubs radar to bolster bullpen

Greg Holland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Former Royals closer Greg Holland could be an avenue for the Cubs to add an impact arm when it counts most in 2017.

Coming off their historic championship last week, the Cubs have made it clear they’re not in the market for the deep end of the free agent closer pool that includes their own Aroldis Chapman and Dodgers right-hander Kenley Jansen.

But Holland, a free agent right-hander who’s close to returning from 2015 Tommy John surgery, is on the Cubs’ radar as a potential back-end bullpen piece that ideally could be back to mid-to-upper-90s velocity sometime during the second half of the season and into the playoffs.

The Cubs were among what agent Scott Boras called “a grand number of teams” who scouted Holland’s showcase workout Monday in Phoenix, during which he topped out at 90-91 mph.

One executive from a rival team projected Holland as a two-year commitment, with most of the value expected on the back half of the deal.

“Well more than half the teams in baseball are very interested in Greg Holland,” said Boras, who added his client doesn’t plan to throw for teams again. “I think the teams saw him throw in the low 90s, and he’s doing really well. They just wanted to see he’s healthy. I think everyone knows what Greg Holland can do. He’s an elite closer. He’s got four months to go before spring training.”

Holland, who turns 31 this month, played a significant role on the Royals’ bullpen-dominant 2014 and ’15 World Series teams. The two-time All-Star saved 47 and 46 games in ’13 and ’14 with ERAs of 1.21 and 1.44.

He pitched into September in 2015 before the injury ended his season, earning 32 saves with a 3.83 ERA in 48 games.