One of the strengths of the Kansas City Royals over the past few years has been the bullpen. For as much static as Dayton Moore had received about the moves he made, there was no questioning his ability to find relief pitching. The man has been a true mastermind when it comes to locating, and signing, power arms in the bullpen.
Since the middle of the 2012 season when he was inserted as the Royals closer, Greg Holland has been a major part of that success. Since the beginning of 2012, Holland has posted a 1.88 ERA and a 1.054 WHiP, earning 109 saves while striking out 13 batters per nine innings. In fact, it could be argued that Holland, and not Craig Kimbrel, is the best closer in baseball.
However, having the best closer in baseball can be an expensive proposition, as the Royals are finding out. This season, Greg Holland is set to earn $8.25 Million, and with one more year of arbitration coming, could well find himself earning over $10 Million next year. As Wade Davis also has two expensive options that the Royals have to make a decision on, Holland’s price tag is certainly going to be a matter of discussion.
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Should Holland has his way, his price may not be a topic for much longer. Holland has indicated that he is interested in signing a long term extension with the Royals, keeping him in Kansas City for the foreseeable future. With both Davis and Kelvin Herrera under team control for the next two seasons, that Royals Cerberus at the end of the bullpen could last through the 2017 season.
If the Royals were to sign Greg Holland to a long term deal, it could get expensive. Kimbrel, who is probably the closest pitcher to what Holland is, had signed a four year deal worth $42 Million with an option for $12 Million more. Given how well Holland has performed, he may be looking for a comparable deal, if not one worth a bit more.
While David Glass has shown a willingness to spend lately, is he willing to let Moore spend approximately $30 Million or more on a bullpen? For that matter, is Moore willing to spend that much money on relief pitching? As great as the triumvirate of Holland, Davis and Herrera have been, relief pitchers are not exactly the safest investments.
The Kansas City Royals may find themselves with a few major decisions to make about their relief pitching. Whether or not they look to sign Greg Holland to a long term extension may be the biggest decision of them all.