Royals closer Greg Holland has switched representation and is now a client of the Boras Corporation, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports (via Twitter). The 29-year-old Holland will hit arbitration for the final time this offseason, meaning he’s just one year from free agency and a potentially massive payday.
Holland has been a vital part of the Royals’ rise to prominence in the American League Central, pairing with fellow right-handers Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera to form a dominant trio at the back end of manager Ned Yost’s bullpen. Ryan Madson — one of the American League’s great comeback stories in 2015 — has been added to that mix this season, creating a formidable group that has helped the Royals run away with their division.
However, if there’s been a weak link in the chain this season, it has somewhat surprisingly been Holland. After working to a flat-out dominant 1.86 ERA with 12.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 256 1/3 innings from 2011-14, Holland has stepped back and worked to a more pedestrian (though still solid) 3.56 ERA in 2015. He’s still averaging a healthy 10.0 K/9, but he’s also averaging five walks per nine innings. Holland missed about three weeks with a strained pectoral muscle early in the season and may not be 100 percent at present, as his normally mid-90s velocity has dropped to the upper 80s. Holland voiced confidence to reporters today, including MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, that he could continue to succeed even with diminished velocity.
“If you’re thinking about that stuff, you’re bound to fail,” Holland told the media. “I don’t let that dictate what I do. My job is to get three outs before they tie the game. I’ve done a pretty good job of it. They pay me a lot of money to do it.”
While the first portion of Holland’s assessment is up for debate, the final statement there is an unequivocal fact. Holland is earning $8.25MM in 2015 and will bring three consecutive seasons of 30-plus saves into arbitration this winter, creating a very strong case at a salary in excess of $10MM. Assuming a rebound season, one can imagine Holland and Scott Boras seeking a record-setting contract on the open market, though they’ll face steep competition in the 2016-17 offseason in the form of Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.
Holland’s switch has been noted in the MLBTR Agency Database, which contains info on more than 2,000 Major League and Minor League players. If you spot any notable omissions or inaccuracies, please let us know via email: [email protected].