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February 14, 2014

Rumor Roundup

Extensions Afoot?

by Daniel Rathman


Royals could explore multi-year deal with Greg Holland
The Royals got on the same page with their closer on Wednesday, when the sides compromised on a $4.675 million salary for the 2014 season. Kansas City Star beat writer Andy McCullough wrote in the article summing up the agreement that a longer-term pact might be in the cards.

Holland turned in a third consecutive elite season last year, recording 47 saves in 50 tries to go with a shiny 1.21 ERA that meshed well with his 1.39 FIP. He struck out 103 batters, issued only 18 walks, and served up only three home runs in 67 innings. You could easily argue that the 28-year-old was the league’s best closer.

The question is whether the Royals value a reliever, even one with Holland’s terrific credentials, enough to devote a substantial portion of their payroll to him into his 30s. Holland’s first full major-league season came at the age of 25, so the Royals can control him through the 2016 campaign, after which he will turn 31. But another effort like the one he just delivered could send Holland’s arbitration salaries soaring into the eight-figure range, putting more than 10 percent of the club’s payroll in the hands of its closer.

McCullough wrote that there is mutual interest in working out a multi-year agreement, but he did not suggest that the sides are actively discussing one or that they might do so before Opening Day. If the Royals’ payroll does not climb next winter, general manager Dayton Moore could face some tough choices, with James Shields and Norichika Aoki set to leave in free agency and a host of players advancing through the arbitration process.

Eric Hosmer, a Super Two eligible this spring, will join Holland in his second trip through arbitration in 2015. Two of Holland’s bullpen mates, Tim Collins and Aaron Crow, will also strike 4.000 on the service-time clock by the end of this year. Setup man Kelvin Herrera is on track to be a Super Two player; he enters the 2014 campaign with one year and 157 days of service time under his belt.

As the bullpen, which led the American League with a 2.55 ERA last year, gets pricier, Moore will need to decide which of its members to retain and which to unload before their salaries become unwieldy for a team with a sub-$100 million budget. Back in November, McCullough’s predecessor at the Star, Bob Dutton, heard that Collins and Crow were “very available” and that even Holland could be snagged “for the proper return.”

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (02/14)
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