Kansas City Royals Greg Holland Has Successful Surgery


On Friday, Greg Holland had Tommy John surgery at the Kerlan-Jobe Surgical Center. Even though the surgery was a success, Andy McCullough reported that Holland would likely be gone all of next year, making Wade Davis likely to be the man the Kansas City Royals will be relying on to close out games.  Is he up to the task?  He already looked like he would surpass Holland anyway.

Which leads to the question? Have the Royals seen the last of Holland? Does he join the ranks of former closing greats such as Dan Quisenberry, Jeff Montgomery, and, to a lesser extent, Joakim Soria? Holland’s ERA over four years was an amazing 1.86 as he struck out over 12 batters per 9 innings.

Greg Holland is set for option for arbitration next year. He was likely set to earn $10 plus million. That is not going to happen to him now, especially as the Royals can refuse to tender arbitration. With the recent surgery, the Royals can politely thank him for several years of great bullpen work but they don’t have to send him on his way if they don’t want to.

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It is always possible that, through his agent, Holland will negotiate a deal in which he will be paid a decent salary for this year with some type of option (perhaps stacked with performance bonuses) for the 2017 year. Certainly, the Kansas City Royals have the upper hand in this negotiation. If Holland is happy in KC, he could well look forward to the possibility of being a setup guy for Davis. There would be quite a bit of irony there.

Even though Holland has been great in the closer role, Davis already has shown this year that he has taken on the persona of the mean bulldog of the pen–ready to thrash the opposing batters. Since Davis has moved to the setup guy and more recently the closer position, the batters have looked largely over-matched. After the at-bats, they will be seen grumbling on their way back to the dugout–with a lower batting average.

The operation was done by famed surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who has worked on Kobe Bryant, Zach Greinke, and CJ Wilson, among others. The surgery, according to the trainer Nick Kenney of the Royals, went well. Later, the spokesman for the surgical group said that the group would not issue statements directly. That would be the decision of Greg Holland, the doctors, the Royals, or several of them.  The Royals would do the talking.

However, prior to the surgery, those who worked with the group spoke about how the surgery would go if done successfully. We can report on how a typical surgery would go (again no specifics on Holland–except that we know it went well).

The surgery would last 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours, and would be outpatient surgery. Then there is the long and laborious task of waiting, followed by endless hours of repetitive exercise to build that elbow and arm back up. The new connection between the upper and lower arm bones will be stronger than it has been in a long while since the current one has been shredded, after long service to the Royals cause.

Whether Holland returns to his dominance of old will remain to be seen, but what is likely, especially given the recent success of Tommy John, is that he will back. Even though he may not be great, he can be a good pitcher. Maybe, in the future, it will be HHD instead of HDH in the back end of the Kansas City Royals bullpen.

Next: Projecting the Royals Playoff Roster