Royals rumors whisper that the team has not given up on bringing back Luke Hochevar and Greg Holland. Between the two, Hochevar is more likely to return.
MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan indicated that club officials have told him they haven’t given up on signing former Kansas City Royals relievers Luke Hochevar and Greg Holland. The 31-year-old Holland hasn’t pitched since suffering a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament in September of 2015. Meanwhile, Hochevar had thoracic outlet surgery in early August of 2016.
As many as twenty teams have expressed interest in cutting a deal with former all-star closer Holland. Holland indicated that he saw a reunion with Kansas City as unlikely at the Winter Meetings in early December. However, since that time, no Holland deal has emerged. That’s even after Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman, and Kenley Jansen all signed soon after the Winter Meetings.
Holland has waited nearly three weeks since the top arms on the bullpen market have found homes. Clearly, he’s not getting what he considers acceptable options. Holland’s market could be heating up however, after the Rockies reportedly put a multi-year deal on the table.
On the other hand, Luke Hochevar’s thoracic outlet syndrome surgery carries a recovery time that typically ranges from four to six months. Such a schedule suggests he should be able to begin throwing by the beginning of Spring Training. But, it might be difficult for scouts to evaluate his stuff since it might take more time to build up his arm for game action.
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In the end, the 33-year-old Hochevar simply doesn’t have the gravitas of former closer Holland. Holland was once one of the best relievers in the game, while Hochevar has only dominated in one season (2013). Other than that peak year, Hochevar has been more of a good rather than great reliever. Teams will simply be far more willing to gamble on a recovery by Holland than someone like Hochevar.
On the other hand, Hoch excelled as the KC Royals fireman early in 2016 before fading as his shoulder problems emerged. In the end, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Luke Hochevar in a Kansas City uniform in 2017. However, such a deal probably won’t come until just before, or even after, Spring Training begins.