Kansas City Royals: Should KC kick the tires on Greg Holland?

DENVER, CO - JULY 18: Greg Holland
DENVER, CO - JULY 18: Greg Holland /

One of the greatest closers in Kansas City Royals history is still on the free agent market. With the club making some moves that lead us to question the direction of the team, would it be worthwhile to give Greg Holland a call?

It’s been a wild past few weeks for Royals fans, to say the least. Originally, many expected the likes of Cheslor Cuthbert, Hunter Dozier, and Bubba Starling to get chances to play major roles in 2018. Since then, those positions have been filled by veterans Mike Moustakas, Lucas Duda and Jon Jay. There has been speculation that General Manager Dayton Moore is attempting to remain semi-competitive (see linked article below) instead of entering a full rebuild.

With that said, if Moore wants to put a competitive team on the field, is it time for him to make another signing or two? Could he get on the phone and call an old friend who’s still on the free agent market? Everyone knows where I’m going with this.

Greg Holland was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in all of baseball during his tenure with the Royals. A two-time All-Star in Kansas City (2013, 2014), anyone who watched, listened to or attended a game from 2011-2015 remembers Holland.

I, along with many of the staff here at Kings of Kauffman, have been asked a lot about if signing Holland to a deal would be a good idea. I’ve broken down the argument in two simple answers: yes and no. Within each subheading is plenty of reasons why acquiring the 32-year-old closer is (or isn’t) a good idea. Let’s start with the pros.

Yes, signing Holland is a good idea

Although he missed the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, Holland (in general, but more on that later) silenced his critics with a solid 2017. Finishing tied for the NL lead in saves, the veteran right-hander was dominant for much of the season. His ERA of 3.61 looks high, but it is actually lower than the 3.83 figure he posted his last year with the Kansas City Royals. Holland showed he still has some left in the tank. We’ll touch more on the glaring weaknesses in last year’s numbers here in a bit.

The noted trouble super-agent Scott Boras has had with getting his clients contracts this offseason helps the Royals. Until a couple days ago, the market on Moustakas (a Boras client) was near silent. The Eric Hosmer situation was dragged out a lot longer than originally anticipated. You can likely guess who Holland’s agent is. This offseason was one of the more unique ones in recent memory, which plays in Dayton Moore’s favor when it comes to the negotiation table.

Another reason bringing Holland back into the fold would help the team: Kelvin Herrera. The two-time All-Star pitcher excelled as the first part of the “HDH” (Herrera, Davis, Holland) trio. In 2017, the Royals made Herrera the full-time closer and needless to say… it didn’t go well. Converting on just under 84% of his save opportunities and holding an ERA of 4.25, last season was the worst of Herrera’s career.

Signing Holland would not only bring a familiar face and fan-favorite back to Kansas City, but it would also likely come at a team-friendly cost and allow Herrera to return to his 8th inning role. If Dayton Moore is considering fielding a decent team, he may also consider Holland.

No, signing Holland is a bad idea

Another arm in the bullpen means less playing time for guys such as Burch Smith and Andres Machado. Some of you may view that as a positive but when considering the team is entering an inevitable turnover, finding out what the Royals have in their prospects is important. Every inning Holland adds to the bullpen’s total subtracts from potential innings for others. Then again, maybe that’s a good thing (at least for 2018). That depends on your outlook on the team beyond this year.

As mentioned earlier, Holland generally silenced his critics last season. His numbers would have looked fantastic had he not imploded in the month of August. Just take a look at everything by month:

MonthInnings PitchedERAHR Allowed

Holland was atrocious in August. Whether it was an undisclosed injury, noted velocity/command issues or a combination of the three, he was bad. No matter how you slice it, Greg Holland is still 32 years old. He still underwent Tommy John surgery in the past and struggled immensely for part of last year. Those are all difficult things to ignore and should be taken into account when analyzing his situation.

Final Thoughts

Having Greg Holland in a Kansas City Royals uniform again would be amazing. Kansas City loves him and he brought a jolt of electricity into the bullpen during his tenure with the club. Despite that, he is likely no longer in his prime and was downright horrible for a full month of the 2017 season. There are two sides to this argument, as there are with any other one. It’s up to you, the fans, to decide which side to take. Regardless of what you’d like to see, Dayton Moore has a plan already set in place.

Next: The Chase for Second Place in the Central

What do you think, Royals fans? Should GMDM give Greg Holland a call? Would it be good or bad for the team? Let us know what you have to say!