The closer, by the very stressful nature of the job, has become a position that few teams look to lock in a set player for an extended period of time. When the Minnesota Twins gave Glen Perkins an extension to bring lock him in through the 2017 season, they became the only team that has extended their closer beyond the 2015 season in the American League. In fact, the extension market for closers, aside from Craig Kimbrel and Perkins, has been generally non-existent.
Perkins, who has been a solid closer since taking on that roll for the Twins during the 2012 season, received a four year contract worth $22.175 Million. Kimbrel, the other closer to sign an extension this offseason, received a four year, $42 Million extension just a month ago. With the dwindling demand for long term contracts for closers, there may actually be value in a long term extension. A closer may want to have the security of knowing that they are guaranteed a certain contract over the next few years instead of having to worry about pitching on one or two year deals.
With that decreased demand for a long term solution at closer, there is the potential that there could be great value in such a commitment. The Kansas City Royals themselves have Greg Holland, who has begun to establish himself as one of the elite closers in baseball. Much like Glen Perkins, Holland took over as the closer during the 2012 season, and has seized the position for his own. In that season and a half, Holland has become a truly dominant force at the back of the Royals bullpen, racking up strikeout after strikeout while typically providing a stress free ninth.
Originally, it was speculated here that Holland may be able to get an extension of the same four years, but at $32 Million, just based on Kimbrel’s contract. With the signing of Perkins, a pitcher on a lower tier than Holland, that would seemingly indicate that Holland’s market may actually be approximately that four year, $32 Million amount, essentially right between the two extensions.
The biggest question may be whether or not the Royals would be willing to sign Greg Holland to such an extension. They already have the highest payroll in team history, eclipsing the $90 Million mark for the first time ever. With players such as Holland, and Eric Hosmer at the arbitration part of their careers, the Royals payroll obligations are only going to increase. It may actually behoove Dayton Moore and the Royals front office to lock in some of these players while they may still be relative bargains.
While we can all debate about whether or not the Royals should be run like a small market franchise, they still consider themselves to have a strict budget for payroll. As such, they will have decisions to make in regards to allocating those resources. Locking in Greg Holland, one of their best players for what should be an affordable rate, could go a long way towards sustaining a long term ability to contend for the playoffs.