Point 1: Lack of Trades
Let me start by asking you this. How many trades have you made to acquire a guy that gets holds? It doesn't happen and if it does, its a rarity. People trade for hitters who hit for average, hit home runs, steal bases, etc., or pitchers who get wins, strikeouts, saves, etc. But no one ever trades for a guy who gets holds. Ever wonder why this is? Its because they are unpredictable. A guy who leads the league in holds one year, may be in the minors the next. Or even out of baseball. Prime example.......Todd Jones, who is 3rd in the league in holds. While he is 8-2 with a 3.79 era this year, his previous 2 years he has had ERA's of 8.24 and 5.52 with WHIP of 2.01 and 1.53. Are these numbers that you would trade for? In fact, the reason the reds even have him is because he was released during the off season. AND HE IS 3RD IN THE LEAGUE IN HOLDS. Team that released him??? The Pitching starved Devil Rays. Knowing that, would you trade for him? The answer is most likely no, because odds are he will not repeat his numbers again next year.
Point 2: Unpredictable Statistic
Another fine example is Alan Embree. Alan is in the Top 20 in Holds with 14. Yet Allen is a Free Agent. Why? It could be his 4.42 ERA or his measly 26K in 36.2 IP. Or it could be his career 4.42 ERA that scares everyone off. But there is not another category (Besides loses and BB) that has anyone in the top 25 that contains a free agent. Holds are simply not that important to people. Honorable mention in this area was John Franco, who has 11 Holds and a 5.73 era. Yuck. To quote one owner, "a guy can come in a 10-6 game, allow 3 runs, and get a hold" Holds are not points for performance, they are points for being in the game at the right time. And since none of us can predict when a pitcher will enter a game, it seems silly to reward teams who get points for this.
Point 3: Bogs Down Rosters:
I myself have several guys on my team only because they get holds. But these guys are no longer considered to be good players. The rod beck's of the world do very little to make my team better. But he does offer the opportunity for holds. If the padres should decide to pitch him at just the right time, I may get some points from him. Instead of acquiring players who play on a more regular basis, I have to keep these type of guys around so I can try to get holds. It just seems to me like we are wasting roster spots keeping aging/average middle relievers around.