The Washington Nationals should never stop searching for upgrades. Could Greg Holland make a good dart throw signing as he tries to turn his season around?
He’s had a disastrous 2018 so far, posting a 7.92 ERA while blowing all three of his save opportunities. Just about every metric took a step in the wrong direction, as he’s on pace to set career highs in ERA, WHIP, H/9, BB/9 and a career low K/9.
This comes just a year after he had an All-Star campaign with the Colorado Rockies in 2017. That year he compiled 3.61 ERA, was the National League’s joint-leader in saves and seemed destined for a nice contract in the off-season.
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But this was no ordinary off-season, and marquee free agents were left unsigned until very late in the process. Heck, AL MVP candidate J.D. Martinez wasn’t signed until February 26th.
The Cardinals are likely regretting shelling out for the former Rockies closer given the horrid year he’s had. But teams are already circling on the right-hander who was about as dominant as they come between 2013 and 2015 with the Kansas City Royals.
Per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Holland’s agent Scott Boras says he “has received five or six calls from teams”. And it’s fair to wonder whether the Nationals are among those teams, given their rapport with Boras.
Holland can likely be signed for the pro-rated league minimum, with the Cardinals on the hook for the rest of his $14m 2018 salary. So it’s likely that a contender takes a swing on the reliever given his previous track record.
His 2018 so far has also been incredibly unlucky with a .379 BABIP compared to his career .301 figure. His pitch velocities are more or less the same as last season, with only his fastball a slight tick down from its 2017 level.
So with all the raw stuff still there for Holland, perhaps a change of scenery is exactly what he needs to get out of the funk. For only the league minimum salary, the Nats could use him in September to see if he’s worth a playoff roster spot if they get there.
The Washington Nationals could make Greg Holland a low risk, high reward signing in the coming weeks. It’s a worthwhile gamble on him returning to his 2017 form and becoming a useful bullpen arm down the stretch.