The Kansas City Royals avoided an arbitration hearing with closer Greg Holland on Wednesday, locking up one of their most important pieces as they prepare to start Spring Training.
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.