KC Royals: Non-Tendering Greg Holland Does Not Mean Gone


The KC Royals failed to tender a contract to Greg Holland last night at 11 PM EST, surrendering their arbitration rights over their former closer. Holland is now a free-agent.

However, that doesn’t mean Greg Holland is gone.

In fact, the Kansas City Royals want to bring Holland back. It’s just that his Tommy John surgery complicates matters. Greg Holland was entering his third (and final) year of arbitration, but his elbow repair late in the 2015 season means that he will not return until the final month of 2016.

However, salary arbitration does not consider his injury. Instead, the process would estimate Holland’s value due to his recent performance. Since Greg Holland still managed 32 saves with a 3.83 ERA, his price was likely to go up from his $8.25 million salary in 2015.

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There’s no way the KC Royals could afford to pay upwards of $9 million to guy that would be able to pitch (at best) until the final month of the season.

The Kansas City Royals front office would like to bring back Greg Holland on a two-year deal, with a small 2016 figure plus a healthy raise (with incentives) in 2017. But, the team will not be able to strike such a deal until the free-agent market for relievers sets the current value for a closer-quality arm.

Be patient, KC Royals fans. A Greg Holland deal probably won’t come until spring.

The Royals made a number of interesting transactions Wednesday night around the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. First, the KC Royals traded catcher Francisco Pena to the Baltimore Orioles for cash, after adding Tony Cruz as the emergency third backstop earlier in the day.

In something of a surprise to me, the Kansas City Royals did tender an arbitration offer to catcher Drew Butera. Apparently, general manager Dayton Moore acquired catcher Tony Cruz from the Cardinals not as a replacement for Butera. Instead, Cruz becomes the team’s emergency third catcher that they will stash at AAA Omaha.

Along with non-tendering Greg Holland, Kansas City also decided not to tender a major-league contract to shortstop Orlando Calixte. The team immediately signed Calixte to a minor-league deal on Thursday.

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While these moves are little more than Moore filling out the corners of his roster, they do help clarify what the team is thinking as they head into next week’s winter meetings.