Now that the Royals seem to have the eighth and ninth innings locked down with Jonathan Broxton and Joakim Soria, there seems to be the thought going around that Greg Holland may be available. The memo to other teams should be you will have to severely overpay to acquire him.
First of all, let's not count on Broxton as a sure thing. The man is coming back from injury and the numbers after the 2010 All-Star Game are nothing glamorous by any stretch of the imagination. While Broxton was at one time a shutdown closer, there is no certainty that he will be a shutdown set-up guy for Kansas City. Yes the contract works nicely for the Royals and they have a nice trade chip at the 2012 deadline should the Royals be out of contention, but Broxton will looked at closely under a microscope moving forward from spring training.
Broxton may not have the same pressure he faced in Los Angeles, but the Royals need to monitor his return from injury very closely. In addition Joakim Soria was very un Joakim Soria-like during parts of 2011, so it is in the best interest of Kansas City to keep Holland should either Broxton or Soria struggle during the first two months of the season (which we all hope is not the case).
According to Mike Axisa of MLB Trade Rumors, the Toronto Blue Jays and other teams have inquired about trying to obtain Holland, which is likely one of the many reasons this whole Colby Rasmus rumor starting circulating. With Holland under team control until 2016 there is no need to look at trading the 26-year old who put together a solid rookie season in which he was 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA. He had a brilliant 11.1-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio, while getting 45% of his outs on groundballs. That is on par with Broxton's career average and higher than Soria's 43% career groundball ratio.
With the state of the current starting pitching market, Dayton Moore is still trying to upgrade the pitching staff but it appears Moore is looking at quality in numbers versus spending big on one larger free agent starting pitcher. We all know how that ended when Kansas City put all of their eggs in one basket with Gil Meche. This is a different approach.
Are they Royals done acquiring pitchers who will help the major league team in 2012? Likely not, they will probably try to add another pitcher or two through the trade market, but this shows the Royals aren't yet committed to signing a starting pitcher with a fancy price tag.
All in all, I like the Broxton move. It's a low risk, high reward situation. However I leave that line of thinking open to reevaluating should the Royals make a decision to move Holland.