Holland was a highly accomplished part of the Royals’ bullpen from 2010-15, during which he made two All-Star appearances. However, the Tommy John surgery Holland underwent in the last of those seasons prevented him from partaking in the Royals’ run to a championship and cost him the entire 2016 campaign. Holland had a nice rebound effort with the Rockies in 2017, but his career largely went off the rails from 2018-19, which he divided among the Cardinals, Nationals and Diamondbacks.
To his credit, after settling for a minor league contract in a return to the Royals last winter, Holland emerged as one of the game’s best bounce-back stories in 2020. The 34-year-old ended the season with a sterling 1.91 ERA/2.52 FIP and went a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities over 28 1/3 innings, also posting 9.85 K/9 and a 51.4 percent groundball rate. While walks were a serious issue for Holland in the wake of his TJ procedure, he only issued 2.22 free passes per nine this past season, further leading to hope that he’s just about all the way back at this point.
With the offseason now underway, Holland should quickly go from someone who couldn’t land a guaranteed deal last winter to a sought-after commodity. He’s not in the Liam Hendriks/Trevor May/Trevor Rosenthal class of free-agent relievers in terms of potential earning power, but Holland should do pretty well for himself on a one- or two-year deal in the coming months.