The Royals have signed reliever Greg Holland to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan and MLB.com reporter Mark Feisand. He will earn $1.25 million if he makes the club and can earn an additional $1.125 million in performance incentives.
The 34-year old Holland spent the first six year of his Major League career with the Royals, from 2010 to 2015, earning 145 saves with an ERA of 2.42 and 430 strikeouts in 319 2⁄3 innings. He was a two-time All-Star and was on both the 2014 American League pennant-winners and the 2015 championship club, although he was injured for the post-season in 2015. Holland would have Tommy John surgery following that season, leading to the Royals letting him go. He rebounded to become an All-Star in 2017 with the Rockies, leading the National League with 41 saves.
Holland has struggled in the two seasons since then, going from the Cardinals to the Nationals to the Diamondbacks. Last year he pitched 35 2⁄3 innings with 24 walks and a 4.54 ERA with 17 saves before Arizona released him in August. Holland’s command has been off the last two seasons, with 6.1 walks-per-nine innings.
Holland’s velocity is significantly down from his days with the Royals, when he was regularly throwing in the mid-to-upper 90s. If he has anything left in the tank, the Royals will likely give him a long look as they have precious little bullpen depth or experience. If he’s healthy, Holland could compete for late innings opportunities with fellow reclamation project Trevor Rosenthal, to set up closer Ian Kennedy.