A few weeks back, we began to chronicle the worrisome decline of Holland, and the staggering loss of velocity he was experiencing. Over the course of his last 5 appearances, he has experienced the lowest average velocity of his career. It is indicative of an underlying problem, and his continuous battle with "cranky arm" has finally taken its toll.
He has not yet been shut down for the year, but is being set aside with what is this time being described as elbow soreness. All of it more than likely points to a more serious problem that has yet to be disclosed for obvious reasons. There is no reason for the Royals to let the world know what is or isn't wrong with their players until they are physically unable to perform at all and it no longer matters.
Jason Vargas was on the verge of finishing off his UCL when the Royals cut short his rehab assignment and brought him back to Kansas City. This was most likely because they knew he was a ticking time bomb and had hoped to eek out any remaining innings in his arm before Tommy John surgery would inevitably wipe out both the 2015 and 2016 seasons. It is quite possible Greg Holland is in a similar situation, as anything that drastic this late in the season would most certainly erase his 2016 campaign as well.
If such a fate is what Holland is facing, they the Royals may be trying to sap every last bit of usefullness from his arm.
With Holland entering his final year of arbitration, his place in the organization going forward will be a question mark. Already earning a staggering $8 million paycheck for relief duties this season, a near certain increase in salary would see him rise to a cost too high for the likes of the cost conscious Royals. It is quite possible that with the looming possibility of injury, that the numbers in arbitration will be rendered a moot point anyway.
Yost stated that Herrera will fill the void left by Wade Davis' promotion and assume the roll of setup man. The remaining duties will be handled in a committee fashion.
Herrera himself had a pair of poor outings earlier this month, but has rebounded somewhat and his last 2 games he has only allowed 1 hit and one walk while not allowing any runs.
–Below is a chart showing the last 5 starts of Greg Holland. As you can see, he experienced a somewhat sudden decline in velocity, then had a lengthy rest. This was then followed by the lowest velocities he has ever had in his career. An ominous sign for a pitcher —
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