The KC Royals want to ensure they continue their bullpen success into 2021 and are bringing back a big part of the 2020 success.
The struggles throughout the KC Royals pitching staff and particularly the bullpen only a few years after the World Series were no secret. While small successes could be found if looking for them, much of the blame for the two 100 loss seasons went to those who were on the mound.
In 2019, it seemed as though no reliever could help Kansas City. Just when games looked to be competitive, the bullpen would find a way to give up some runs. That’s why it was such a surprise in 2020 when the Royals put on a clinic most nights with their bullpen.
From flame throwers to relying on finesse pitching, the relievers were no longer the concern. One big part of this was a rebound from veteran Greg Holland. Holland was once a Royals great. After a few down years elsewhere, he returned to Kansas City on a minor league contract and worked his way back to the majors.
He was the perfect player for the young Royals reliever squad. He had been in the big moments and could show them the way. He had one of his best seasons in years, throwing 28.1 innings, striking out 31, and holding an ERA of 1.91 and FIP of 2.52.
Once the season ended, there was talk of bringing Holland back and needing to continue to supplement the bullpen. Now, the Royals have announced that Greg Holland will in fact be back in Kansas City for the 2021 season.
The deal is reportedly for $2.75 million and includes some incentives.
Kansas City has been interested in Holland since the season ended, and many assumed it would only be a matter of time before an agreement was reached.
The Royals see the need for a veteran presence on the pitching staff. Both the bullpen and rotation are now filled with young arms and it’s likely that 2021 could see even more debuts for young pitchers. Holland will serve as a mentor to many of Kansas City’s prospects.
Kansas City has been aggressive so far this offseason, quickly checking off the boxes for what they need to improve, and now, they can check off one more box.
The Royals may still have some room for another move or two if they feel the need, but so far, it has been enjoyable just to see the team active at all.
Holland will work with a bullpen that includes pitchers like Josh Staumont, a revitalized Kyle Zimmer and Jesse Hahn, and the workhorse Scott Barlow. The last time the Royals were contenders, they had the help of a powerhouse bullpen. It looks like that might be the plan again in Kansas City.
The KC Royals have announced that Greg Holland will return to Kansas City for the 2021 season.