Yes I know the Kansas City Royals have one of, if not the best closers in all of baseball in Greg Holland. Unfortunately for the Royals they also have a closer that is getting increasingly expensive during the arbitration process every year. As a small market team with payroll concerns always on their mind the Royals must constantly be looking for places they can get production for minimal salary figures. Where can the Royals find cost savings in the bullpen?
Increasing Wade Davis leverage usage is one way. Yes I am a person who was extremely disappointed by Wade’s ability in the rotation but he’s been outstanding in the bullpen and could make the Wil Myers trade palatable from a fan perspective if he could take over that closer role. Increasing Wade’s usage some also drives down Greg Holland’s saves that he can pile up which in turn directly effects Holland’s salary arbitration figure pushing it down just a tad. If Davis can workout in the role then the Royals have the ability to trade Holland away for a bat that they are desperately in need of.
To no one’s surprise the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays figured out that if they can find closers with fixed salary rates, even expensive ones like Jim Johnson at $10m, they can keep their younger arbitration eligible relievers salary figures down. Like the Royals those teams have young talented bullpen arms in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings that are pretty special and relatively cheap. With Wade Davis striking out hitters at over a 40% clips (44.7) and keeping runners off the bases at a sub 1 WHIP then the Royals have a possible closer with fixed salary numbers in the future much like Johnson and Grant Balfour. Owed $25M (7,8 and 10) over the next three years the Royals have a cost certainty closer, a player that is too expensive to keep in a set up role and a closer that is almost certainly to be less expensive than Greg Holland.
The time is now however as the Royals need to find out if Davis can do the job. How they can do that without angering Holland is anyones guess but it should be done. Perhaps Ned should use Holland a tad more pushing him into tie games in late innings or use him in games that don’t require a save situation. From that perspective then he won’t beÂ available during situations that require a closer. Another way is to use Davis into a few of those non-save 9th inning spots It’s a slippery slope and could require Ned to look like a goat in front of fans but if the front office and he are on the same page it shouldn’t matters as it’s a role that the Royals need to find out if Davis can fill.
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