The KC Royals watched former closer Greg Holland agree to a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. The deal comes the day after he attended the funeral of former Kansas City teammate Yordano Ventura in the Dominican Republic.
Multiple sources have indicated that a deal between former Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland and the Colorado Rockies is in the works. Yahoo.com’s Jeff Passan Tweeted details of the contract:
I’m somewhat surprised that Holland would sign with the Colorado Rockies. Many pitchers struggle with Denver’s thin air. Not only does the ball carry, but breaking pitches often lose movement. With the Reds, Royals, and Nationals all interested in the former closer, I suspect Colorado had to have offered a significantly better package than their rivals. Otherwise, Holland wouldn’t have accepted the risk of damaging his future value by playing half his games in a tough pitching venue like Coors Field.
However, it’s hard to imagine that the Kansas City Royals could have matched such a deal. From general manager Dayton Moore’s behavior this winter, he’s operating under a tight budget. With Kansas City presumably back on the starting pitching market after Yordano Ventura‘s tragic accident, they simply couldn’t risk investing significant resources in a player coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Another problem could have been that Moore doesn’t know what kind of resources are now available. Yordano Ventura’s contract situation is still up in the air. Ventura’s toxicology report could not only nullify his $20 million contract guarantee, but could also impact any insurance that the club took out on his deal. Authorities in the Dominican Republic indicate his toxicology report will be available in three-weeks.
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If Moore is going to pick off a free-agent before spring training opens in Surprise, Arizona, I would put my money on Jason Hammel. Depending on how much insurance the KC Royals carried on Ventura’s contract, Moore might have up to $3.25 million in short-term resources with which to pursue a starting pitcher. Ventura was also guaranteed $20 million over the next three seasons, with two option years at $12 million. Thus, the Royals could theoretically take on as much as $44 million in a long-term contract. Designated hitter Pedro Alvarez is also a possibility, but starting pitching now seems like the more acute need.
If they address the back end in free-agency, I suspect the Royals will try to find a starter willing to convert to the pen. Otherwise, they will simply depend on high-end arms from the minor leagues like Kyle Zimmer or Josh Staumont to round out their bullpen.
Dayton Moore now faces considerable challenges to get his roster ready for next season. He doesn’t have a whole lot of time to find solutions.