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Royals “open to exploring a reunion” with Greg Holland

The Royals could use some high upside bullpen arms.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals are “open to exploring a reunion” with reliever Greg Holland, according to reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. The 34-year old Holland pitched for the Royals from 2010 to 2015 and had a 2.42 ERA with 145 saves, earning two All-Star appearances.

Holland had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2016 season, leading to his release from the Royals, but he did bounce back in 2017 with a league-leading 41 saves with the Rockies. He struggled quite a bit in 2018 and was released by the Cardinals with a 7.92 ERA in 25 innings but rebounded a bit with the Nationals that year. Last year he pitched with the Diamondbacks and had a 4.54 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 35 ⅔ innings and 17 saves but was released in August. Command has been a big issue for Holland, in the last two years he has walked 6.1 hitters-per-nine innings.

Holland’s velocity is down significantly since his prime, with his fastball clocked at an average of 91 mph last year. But he is still able to miss bats, with a swinging strike rate of 12.7 percent over the last two seasons, above the average for relievers in those years. But Holland will need to be able to throw strikes on a more consistent basis to keep his career going - only four relievers in baseball had a higher walk rate than Hollland in the last two seasons.

The Royals have been rumored to be looking for bullpen help this winter, and will be content to wait out the market and look for bargain opportunities. Dayton Moore recently said that any free agents would likely be signed in January or February. But that may not preclude the Royals from signing players to minor league deals, as they did last week, signing former All-Star closer Trevor Rosenthal.