The two sides agreed to a one-year, $4.675 million deal. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reported the deal, noting that both sides are open to a longer deal sometime down the road:
The agreement with Holland looms larger for the Royals’ future. Both sides have expressed their interest in a multi-year extension. But their conversation during these negotiations centered on a one-year agreement…”
It will be interesting to see how things develop for Holland. Increasingly teams are showing a reluctance to commit big dollars or long-term years to closers – call it the lesson collectively learned from the Jonathan Papelbon contract. Unless a team has a dominant 9th inning man like Craig Kimbrel, they are probably better off scraping for a bargain and piecing together who will close each season (and maybe even in that case).
Holland’s performance in 2013 was right on the line of being that good: he had 47 saves and a minuscule 1.21 ERA in 68 games. Still, relievers are among the most volatile and difficult to predict players in baseball, so doling out a long-term deal remains a risky decision.
For now the Royals will be happy to know that they have Holland locked up for 2014.