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Royals avoid arbitration with Holland, agree to one year deal

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Greg Holland had the potential to become the first player to take the Royals to salary arbitration under general manager Dayton Moore, but the club agreed to a one year contract with the pitcher on Wednesday. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the deal is worth $4.675 million.

Holland threw a fastball with consistent velocity between 93 and 100 mph in tandem with a devastating slider during a dominant 2013. He posted a 1.21 earned run average and struck out 103 batters while converting 47 successful save opportunities as the Royals’ closer. After blowing saves twice in his first 13 appearances, he would go almost four months before surrendering another lead and finished with only three blown saves in 68 appearances during an All-Star campaign.

The Royals retain Holland’s services at something of a discount considering the market for free agent closers this offseason. Former Detroit Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit signed with the San Diego Padres for two years with an annual contract value of $7.75 million. The Tigers replaced him with Joe Nathan, who signed for two years worth $10 million a year. Elsewhere, former Oakland A’s closer will fulfill the same role for the Tampa Bay Rays after being signed to a contract that pays him $6 million a year.

Holland’s signing means the Royals will enter spring training with all arbitration eligible players under contract. Kansas City still holds exclusive rights to Holland until he becomes a free agent in 2017, Holland is arbitration eligible for both 2015 and 2016.

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