Blue Jays Rumors: Toronto in pursuit of Royals closer Greg Holland


It seems like nearly every morning there is fresh news of the Toronto Blue Jays in pursuit of another piece to add to a team that looks to be vastly improved in 2015. With the focus turning to the bullpen from this point on, Toronto seems to be getting itself in the mix on some big name closing options.

The latest closer to join the mix is Greg Holland, who currently mans the role for the Kansas City Royals. As Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun notes, the Royals are open to moving Holland now, with two years of arbitration control, in the right package. Holland is projected to earn upwards of $9.3 million in 2015, his second year of arbitration, and could quickly grow out of the Royals’ payroll structure, especially given the other costs associated with their bullpen in Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera.

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On Saturday night, that focus was on the availability of free agent closer David Robertson. However, Alex Anthopoulos quickly shot down that rumor, noting that the Blue Jays were not “in love” with any reliever at this point. That stands to be a reasonable stance to take, given that Robertson is looking for a four-year, $50 million contract, which is pretty hefty for a closer and would represent a big chunk of what the Blue Jays have left to spend this winter on multiple bullpen pieces.

That said, Holland would certainly represent a savings on what Robertson is looking for, at least in terms of salary, and two years of control would represent less risk that signing a closer to a four-year deal. Holland was also far superior to Robertson in 2014, posting a stellar 1.44 ERA, a 1.83 FIP, 46 saves, and a 13.0 K/9 ratio over 62.1 innings of work. I was his second consecutive season with 40+ saves and ERA/FIP markers well-below 2.00.

Of course, the caveat with Holland is the cost to acquire him from Kansas City. The Royals are not going to give their closer away, even if they wish to save some money in the process. They’ll be looking for a cost-controlled arm in return for Holland, with Elliot noting that they’ll want a Major League ready starter that can help replace free agent James Shield in the rotation. That means any deal likely starts with names like Aaron Sanchez or Daniel Norris, and will likely require added pieces sweeten the pot. Marcus Stroman would have to be off the table completely, although I suspect the Blue Jays wouldn’t even consider trading Sanchez or Norris at this stage, especially for a closer.

While Greg Holland would look awfully good coming out of that Blue Jays bullpen for the ninth inning, I suspect there are just cheaper options available that would make everyone just a little bit more comfortable.