The Royals avoided going to arbitration with Greg Holland when the two sides agreed to a one-year, $4.675MM contract earlier today, and that deal could be a harbinger for a multiyear commitment. There is mutual interest between Holland and the Royals on a long-term deal, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports, though their most recent talks focused only on settling Holland's 2014 contract.
Holland has been one of baseball's top relief arms over the last three seasons, posting a 1.99 ERA and 268 strikeouts (against only 71 walks) in 194 innings out of the K.C. bullpen in 2011-13. Since taking over as the Royals' closer in August 2012, Holland has racked up 63 saves, 47 of which came last season as part of a sterling campaign that saw Holland make the All-Star team and finish ninth in AL Cy Young Award voting.
Holland, a client of Turner Gary Sports, is under team control through 2016. As McCullough notes, Holland will only get more expensive if he keeps up his form over his final two years of arbitration eligibility. A multiyear deal could help Kansas City keep Holland's salary in check, though there's a limit to what a mid-market team like the Royals can reasonably spend on a closer, even an elite one. There's no immediate rush to lock Holland up, but if an extension can't be worked out over the next season or two, K.C. could look to trade the righty and install one of their other top bullpen arms (such as Kelvin Herrera, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins or Luke Hochevar) as closer.