Potential Closers for Kansas City Royals – No. 3: Wade Davis
For the second half of 2015 and all of 2016, Wade Davis was the best closer in baseball and it wasn’t really all that close. It felt like a near guarantee that when Davis entered the game, the Royals were about to win because he was that good.
Davis didn’t pitch well for the Rockies after they shelled out a massive amount of money for his services so if he never returns to WadeBot form, it won’t be shocking. Davis does have incentives on his minor league deal, however, so if he looks like the Davis of old and the Royals feel they can trust him in his old role, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him chosen for the closer job.
Davis proved he can perform well under pressure for the Royals and while it didn’t work out in Colorado, maybe being reunited with his former H-D-H counterpart could help spark something in him again. More than likely, Davis is another arm in the bullpen, but it’d be cool to see him in WadeBot form again.
Potential Closers for Kansas City Royals – No. 2: Scott Barlow
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While Scott Barlow didn’t finish out 2020 with the best numbers, there was a lot to like about what he did in the shortened season. Despite it being a short season, Barlow appeared in 32 games and threw 30 innings of work. He had a 4.20 ERA by season’s end and while that’s not super impressive, one bad game in the final month of the season is what did him in.
Barlow finished the season strong, not allowing a single run in his final five appearances, but prior to that, he was getting hit hard. The Royals eventually put him out in short outings and that was where he proved to be the most dominant. He wasn’t used in save situations much, but he did lock down two games for the boys in blue.
While Barlow looks to be a good reliever, the chances of him getting the closer job over the No. 1 option aren’t the likeliest. He still has a shot, of course, especially if he shows up big in spring training.
Potential Closers for Kansas City Royals – No. 1: Greg Holland
The most likely option to win the closer job for the Royals is Greg Holland, who re-signed with the team after an impressive 2020 season. The 35-year-old looked like his old self, twirling 28.1 innings and finishing the year with an ERA of 1.91.
This came after some rough pitstops with other teams including a 7.92 ERA with the Cardinals just two years prior. The Royals took a chance on an old friend last year and it paid off, so it was nice to see him repay them by coming back for another season.
Holland wasn’t initially the closer for the Royals last year, as Trevor Rosenthal had that job instead. Holland took over once Rosenthal was traded to the Padres and had six saves on the short season.
Due to his previous experience as a closer and the fact that he showcased he could still get the job done last season, Holland is definitely the favorite to land the job in 2021.