Could the bullpen addition the Washington Nationals have been looking for this winter end up being Greg Holland, the one-time Kansas City Royals’ closer, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery?
Writing about the Nats’ level of interest recently, Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes noted that Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office, “... have indicated cursory interest in the right-hander throughout the offseason,” while also exploring trade options and trying to sign a couple of the high-end free agent closers on the market.
Writing at FanRagSports.com this morning, Jon Heyman listed the Nationals as one of six teams that are believed to have interest in the 31-year-old right-hander along with LA’s Dodgers, the Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds.
Holland, Heyman writes, “is seeking an unusual two-year deal with a one-year opt-out that could allow him to re-test a free agent market that showed a strong affinity for closers this winter.”
at least 6 teams in on closer greg holland, who seeks an unusual contract. https://t.co/6oAygntURc— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 11, 2017
In two full seasons as Kansas City’s closer in 2013-14, Holland posted a 1.32 ERA, 193 Ks and 93 saves over 129 1⁄3 innings.
He saved 32 games in 2015 before he was forced to undergo surgery.
Royals’ manager Ned Yost later told reporters, as quoted by Andy McCullough, that he thought Holland actually injured the elbow the previous August and pitched with the injury through the postseason in ‘14 and the season in ‘15 before he was diagnosed with a significant tear of the UCL.
Heyman writes this morning that while teams think a two-year deal with Holland makes sense for a reliever who, “... could be eased back into a full-time role in ’17 before a bigger ’18 season,” the interest in a, “... one-year opt-out (the deal could also be looked at as one year plus a player option) could be the interesting twist for some teams.”
Does Holland make sense for the Nationals? They are clearly interested in bolstering the bullpen after pursuing free agents and discussing trades with a number of teams this winter. Will they settle on a once-dominant closer recovering from Tommy John?
UPDATE: MASN’S Byron Kerr spoke to a source who said the Nationals are still interested in adding a closer and have interest in Holland: