Kansas City Royals Greg Holland May Be in Final Months


At the end of this season, the Kansas City Royals are going to have a number of decisions to make when it comes to their team from a financial standpoint. Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto are all slated to become free agents. There is the possibility of another extension for Salvador Perez, and extensions for players like Lorenzo Cain. Then, there are the questions with the bullpen, and the raises that will be due to both Wade Davis and Greg Holland.

It is Holland that may be the biggest question mark going forward. He is easily in the midst of his worst season since becoming a full time piece of the Royals bullpen, with his 3.56 ERA and a 1.395 WHiP. Not only has he lost quite a bit of zip on his fastball, but his control has struggled to the point where Holland has walked five batters per nine innings, the highest mark of his career, while striking out only ten betters per nine. He simply has not been the dominant closer of years past.

However, as Holland is entering his final year of arbitration, he will earn a pay raise above the $8.25 Million he was paid this season. While he still has a better than average ERA with a 116 ERA+ heading into last night’s action, it is hard to imagine that Holland would earn a significant amount more in free agency, as opposed to what he could get via the arbitration process, especially now that he has signed on with Scott Boras.

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While there had been some debate before about whether or not the Kansas City Royals should look to trade Greg Holland following the season, it may actually be time for the Royals to part ways with their closer. Previously, there had been some hope that an extension could be reached with Holland, keeping him in Kansas City with a degree of cost certainty. Now, with Boras as his agent, a less than stellar 2015 season and quite a few areas of need on the roster, Holland may be a luxury that the Royals cannot afford.

Obviously, Holland is at the nadir of his value at this point. Yet, with seemingly every team in need of a bullpen arm, and the lack of proven closers that would be on the market, the Royals could still get quite the haul in return. Yes, this would weaken the bullpen by sliding Davis and Kelvin Herrera back an inning, but the Royals have proven quite adept at finding arms off the scrap heap to fill out the relief corps. Just look at their acquisitions of Ryan Madson and Franklin Morales this year.

Even though Holland has entrenched himself into the closers role in Kansas City, the Royals may have an option just as good, if not better, waiting in the wings. Given his struggles in terms of velocity, health and overall performance, Holland may be in his final days closing out ballgames for the Royals.

Greg Holland had been one of the dominant closers in all of baseball. Now, after this season, the Kansas City Royals will have a tough decision to make in regards to his future this offseason.

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