There’s a chance that Royals closer Greg Holland will mess up general manager Dayton Moore’s perfect streak.
Since being hired as Royals general manager, Moore has yet to have a player’s contract determined in salary arbitration. But salary arbitration hearings are being held through Feb. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Holland filed for arbitration last month.
While it’s been reported that a half-dozen players’ dates have been set (including the Indians and Vinnie Pestano, who will meet before an arbitrator on Friday), there has been no word on when Holland’s hearing is scheduled.
Holland’s agent at Turner Gary Sport wrote in an email, “The hearing date is confidential. Both parties (MLBPA and LRD) have agreed to this.”
That’s the Major League Baseball Players Association and the Labor Relations Department.
For his part, Holland is not concerned about his contract.
“It’s one of those things where both sides will get a point where we’re comfortable and hopefully we’ll get it done sooner than later,” Holland said.
Holland, the Royals’ Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year award winner in 2013 after setting a team record with 47 saves, requested $5.2 million in arbitration, while the Royals countered with $4.1 million.
If the three-person panel decides on the salary, it must pick either Holland’s request or the Royals’ offer. It can’t split the difference.
Last year, Holland was paid $539,500 and he had a 1.21 ERA with an 0.87 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched. He was an All-Star and received votes for the Cy Young and MVP awards.
Moore previously said he’d be open to a long-term contract with Holland, who will also be eligible for arbitration after the next two seasons as well. He will be a free agent following the 2016 season.
“It’s our desire to keep many of our good players here long-term, if we can do that,” Moore said last week. “Greg’s no different. Every negotiation has its own set of circumstances and we’ll see what happens.”
Initially, Holland declined to speculate about a long-term deal.
“I don’t really think that’s something I’m comfortable with discussing at the moment,” he said. “I’m letting my agent take care of that and however it plays out, it plays out.”
Pressed about it, Holland admitted he would be happy to work out a multi-year contract.
“Would everyone in that room like to be here for a long time for their whole career? Yeah,” Holland said. “Is that going to happen? Probably not.”
Even if Holland should lose his case before an arbitration panel, he will be getting a raise of more than $3 million this season. That’s to be expected for a closer who is arguably the best in the American League.
After the All-Star break last season, Holland had a 0.56 ERA with 25 saves and a WHIP of 0.81. Still, he wasn’t satisfied.
“From a team standpoint, I thought it would go better,” Holland said. “I really thought we had a playoff-caliber team. I think toward the end of the year, we kind of proved that. We had that big skid in May that kind of killed us in the end. We were just too far back. But you don’t ever expect anything but the best from yourself and the team.”
Those gaudy statistics? Holland always thinks they could be better.
“As a competitor you don’t ever feel satisfied,” Holland. “I think as you kind of get that complacency, you’re probably on your way out the door. I really don’t care what my numbers are, I just want to go out there and help us win ballgames. That’s how I measure my success.
“If we make it to the playoffs this year and make a run in the playoffs, then I can tell you right now regardless of my numbers it’s going to be a successful season.”