Royals sign Greg Holland
The Red Sox actually made the biggest signing around the league on Monday when they signed outfielder Hunter Renfroe to a one-year deal, but we already covered that here and will have more on that move later today. Renfroe was the biggest singing only by a slim margin, however, at least in terms of his salary. The Royals quickly followed up that signing by bringing back reliever Greg Holland on a one-year deal worth $2.75 million.
The Royals have been a really interesting team this winter just due to the fact that they are actually building the team up. It’s a low bar, but we don’t see that much from rebuilding teams these days. We’ve seen the Orioles trade anyone they can, but while the Royals still likely aren’t a playoff team at this point, they have signed players like Carlos Santana, Mike Minor and now Holland. Not superstar additions, of course, but there is something to be said about giving your fans even a decent team to root for. Nobody is saying these terrible teams need to sign George Springer or Trevor Bauer. But making smaller moves like this at positions where they don’t have an in-house option should be the norm. This is, after all, an entertainment business.
As far as Holland himself, this is his second go-around with the Royals. The right-handed reliever was the team’s closer back in the middle of last decade when they were making runs to the World Series. In 2013 and 2014, he had sub-1.00 ERAs in both seasons while saving 47 and 46 games, respectively. Injuries kind of derailed things a bit after that, but he came back to Kansas City for the 2020 season and had his best year by both ERA and FIP since that 2014 campaign. With it being a shortened season and him having just turned 35 it wasn’t enough to parlay that into a big deal, but he does get to go back to the franchise with which he is so familiar, and the Royals get what they hope is a little stability in the back of their bullpen.
I would say this is a deal the Red Sox should have been all over given the small price tag, but I don’t think that really applies here. This is all speculation, but it seems like Holland and the Royals simply like each other. Unless someone was to blow him away, he likely goes to the Royals no matter what. There are other pitchers of his caliber remaining on the market anyway.