Before the signing was officially official, Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters on Saturday afternoon in a Zoom call from Fenway Park that the club was signing veteran infielder Brock Holt after he was designated for assignment and released last week by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Holt, 32, put up a .100/.222/.100 line in 16 games this year before the DFA by the Brewers, but in his previous eight big leagues seasons he had a combined .271/.340/.374 line, with 108 doubles, 16 triples, and 23 home runs in 639 games.
“He’s a guy that I really liked over the years,” Martinez said.
“We think he can help, he can play multiple positions, he can swing the bat, so he’s going to get a chance to play everywhere here.”
“I love those kind of players. I really do,” the third-year manager added.
“If one day we have to give [Asdrúbal Cabrera] a break, or one day we have to give Howie [Kendrick] a break, he fits right in.
“He plays first, he plays third, he plays second, and he can play center, right field, left field.
“Here’s a guy that’s very versatile, and like I said, a left-handed hitter that we obviously need. I think we need another left-handed hitter.
“Puts the ball in play, does a lot of different things that are good. So, when these guys come available, they’re nice to have and they can fit everywhere.”
Luckily for the Nationals, Holt, who played seven seasons with the Red Sox, and has homes in Boston and Texas, was in Beantown, so he was close by when the deal became official and he was able to join his new club right away.
“Got designated last, I guess after the game last Friday,” Holt explained in a Zoom call with reporters before Sunday’s game with the Sox.
“I flew home on Saturday, and I’ve just been with my family. Been with my wife, and [son Griffin] and hanging out with them all week and became a free agent I think officially on Friday, I believe.
“The Nationals called, they were interested, and it happened to work out that they were here and it just made things that much easier.”
“Obviously I was excited about the opportunity,” Holt added.
“Excited that I didn’t really have to go anywhere and I could have two more days here at the house. But excited to be here, excited to be part of this team, part of this organization.
“Looking forward to helping out however and whenever I can.”
He was able to join the team right away since he was already in Boston, or just outside, a 20-minute drive from Fenway, so the Nationals brought him in as soon as possible.
“They called me yesterday and said that I passed the COVID test, and said, ‘Can you come up, we’d like to have you active for the game.’
“So I drive over and I got here probably around 5:00, and kind of got situated, and but yeah, I was around the whole game, hitting in the cage and trying to move around.
“Didn’t really do any baseball stuff for a week, took a little time off, but it will take a little while to get back in the swing of things, but I’m going to try to ramp things up and speed up the process for sure.”
His manager didn’t wait long to use his newest player. Holt got a pinch hit at bat late in a 5-3 loss to the Red Sox, but Martinez sent him up with a runner on and one out in the ninth. Holt K’d swinging, however, chasing on 0-2 curve from Matt Barnes out of the zone.
“In that situation just try to do the best you can,” Holt said. “Obviously I know Barnes from playing against him, know he’s got a good breaking ball.
“He threw me a fastball that I probably should have been ready to hit in that first pitch, didn’t think it was — maybe thought it was a little down, but strike one, and then he threw me a couple good breaking balls, and just tip your cap sometimes, and like I said, in that situations you just try to do the best you can.”