According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Cubs have signed former Marlins righty Jordan Holloway to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. A 20th-round pick by Miami back in 2014 out of high school, Holloway won’t turn 27 until June and has the kind of stuff Craig Breslow‘s pitching team is probably drooling over. Though he worked almost exclusively as a starter for several seasons, Holloway has pitched primarily in a relief role at Triple-A and in brief MLB stints.
He debuted in 2020, recording one out in one appearance, then logged 36 innings in 2021. Since everyone believes the Cubs are the only team in baseball to sign players coming off of injuries, you’ll all be shocked to hear that Holloway was limited to 2.2 innings with Miami and 26.1 across several levels in ’22 as he battled a broken bone spur in his pitching elbow. That issue was alleviated by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache in September and Holloway should be at a full go when camp opens.
He’s got a big frame at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, and he’s able to generate upper-90s fastball velocity. Even with last year’s issues, he sat around 96 mph with his four-seam. Holloway also has a big slider thrown in the mid-80s and a curve that hovers just below 80 mph. A very firm change in the 91-92 mph range got good results in ’21 and could be a weapon if can maintain a feel for it.
I always try to look at these moves in a positive light because minor-league deals carry virtually no risk, but this one has legitimately piqued my interest. Holloway put up huge strikeout numbers last year while working his way back up to the bigs and he’s gotten solid groundball results throughout his career. The walk numbers are a little alarming, however, so that’s something the Cubs are going to need to work on.
If Holloway is indeed healthy and able to max out his stuff with just a little better control, he could definitely be in line for a swingman/long relief role. The Cubs seem to be trending toward having a rotation that doesn’t eat a lot of innings, so having someone else to work alongside Adbert Alzolay and Keegan Thompson is a good idea. And though it’d be nice to see them add another lefty, Holloway has pitched to relatively even splits in his career and actually has a much better K/BB rate against left-handed hitters.
Let’s go ahead and mark the tape on this one because I feel like Holloway could end up being a dude this season.