Congratulations are in order for the Royals tonight, as their victory, combined with a Twins loss, means that Kansas City has officially clinched the American League Central Division championship. The Royals had their doubters — myself included — but have taken the division in decisive fashion. As the champagne flows at Kauffman Stadium, here are a few notes from around the division…
- Greg Holland will probably undergo Tommy John surgery in the near future, as the Royals announced earlier today that he has a “significant” tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament and will seek a second opinion next week. Manager Ned Yost said at the time that Holland’s ligament damage may date back to last August. As Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets, trainer Nick Kenney likened the injury to that of Masahiro Tanaka, who suffered a small tear in his own UCL last summer but has pitched without issue in 2015. That would seemingly indicate that Holland’s initial tear was relatively minor in nature but has been exacerbated by pitching through it in the 2014 playoffs and throughout the 2015 season.
- MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes that Holland’s injury brings his future with the Royals into question. As I noted at the time the news broke, Holland’s $8.25MM salary and arbitration eligibility this winter make it a certainty that he’ll be non-tendered this offseason if and when he undergoes Tommy John surgery. Flanagan writes that a two-year deal with a marginal 2016 base salary and an incentive-laden structure in 2017 could be a solution, though I wonder if new agent Scott Boras will be amenable to such a possibility. GM Dayton Moore hopes to see Holland remain with the Royals in the future, per Flanagan, though Moore avoided making any sort of definitive statement: “I will say that Holly is one of the very best competitors I’ve ever been around. I admire him a great deal. I hope he’s a part of our organization the remainder of his career.”
- Right-hander Gavin Floyd has missed most of the season after re-fracturing the olecranon bone in his right elbow, but he’s returned to the Indians’ bullpen late this season and tells Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer that he’d be interested in returning to Cleveland. “Despite the circumstances of not being able to play, I loved getting to know the guys and the city,” Floyd explained. “…I’d definitely be interested (in resigning) for sure.” Floyd has received strong bottom-line results working out of the ’pen, tallying a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings since returning. Floyd’s 6-to-4 K/BB ratio is less impressive, but his velocity is strong as ever. There’s been speculation about Cleveland perhaps trading a young starter to fill needs elsewhere on the roster, and as Hoynes notes, Floyd could be brought back as veteran depth to fill out the rotation should that scenario play out.
- Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos touched on the organization’s decision to send Bruce Rondon home for the season due to his effort level in an appearance with Matt Dery on 105.1 radio in Detroit (audio link). Without getting too specific, Castellanos noted that some in the clubhouse were “unhappy with his antics” but still said the move by management came as a surprise to him. Castellanos said that he and others in the organization feel that Rondon can still be a valuable part of the team going forward, adding that he feels Rondon has the raw talent to be an “All-Star caliber closer” but now needs to harness the necessary intangibles to realize that potential.