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Holland among arb-eligible decisions for Royals

Moustakas, Cain also on the list with non-tender deadline looming

KANSAS CITY -- As tonight's 10:59 p.m. CT deadline approaches for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Royals' biggest decision will appear to be what to do with closer Greg Holland.

Holland underwent Tommy John surgery in early October and will miss the 2016 season.

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The problem for the Royals is that Holland made a base salary of $8.25 million in 2015 and though he experienced a subpar season by his standards, he fought through pain and managed 32 saves in going 3-2 with a 3.83 ERA. Holland would be in line for another healthy raise through arbitration.

It would seem to make more financial sense for the Royals to non-tender Holland and come to terms on a two-year deal that has a relatively low base salary for 2016 and one that is backloaded for his return in '17.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said of Holland, "It's a decision we don't have to make until Wednesday night. I will just say that we will be open-minded."

Holland, 30, was one of the best closers in baseball from 2012-14 when he compiled 109 saves with a 1.88 ERA.

But Holland said he began experiencing elbow tightness late in the 2014 season. The pain and tightness carried over into '15, though Holland fought through that discomfort and continued to perform at a high level for most of the season.

But Holland's velocity, which normally had been around 96-97 mph, began to dip into the upper 80s as the season wore on.

Holland underwent an MRI in late August that showed a significant tear to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Again, Holland tried to pitch through the pain, but ultimately the Royals shut him down after a blown save in Detroit on Sept. 18.

Just before his final outing, Holland switched agents from Turner Gary Sports to Scott Boras.

The Royals' other arbitration-eligible players are third baseman Mike Moustakas, left-hander Danny Duffy, right-hander Louis Coleman, catcher Drew Butera, as well as outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson.

Left-hander Tim Collins avoided arbitration on Monday and signed for $1.475 million, the same amount he made in 2015 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He also will get a $50,000 bonus for an All-Star Game selection.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.
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