The Nationals had interest in Holland before. The former Kansas City Royals closer has World Series experience and would likely serve as late-inning depth if he could recover his form. The Nationals have time to let him find his way; even with closer Sean Doolittle on the disabled list, they have Ryan Madson and Kelvin Herrera to pitch the eighth and ninth. Holland could handle lower-leverage innings until he proves himself capable of handling more important ones like he did for the Royals during their playoff run, when Herrera served as one of his setup men. Tim Collins also was part of that bullpen.
The 32-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery late in the 2015 season and pitched to a 3.61 ERA in 61 appearances with the Colorado Rockies in 2017, his first year back. But he did not find a job until Opening Day of this season when the Cardinals scooped him up, and reports from St. Louis after his release suggested the Cardinals’ front office might have rushed him into action after a truncated spring training. If the Nationals can find a way to revitalize him, they might add a crafty complement to the harder throwers in the back of their bullpen. Holland, by the way, is represented by Scott Boras.
Adding Holland would give the Nationals a more veteran presence, and a roster spot easily could be cleared by sending inexperienced, hard-throwing righty Jimmy Cordero back to Class AAA Syracuse. Koda Glover is another option to provide bullpen depth down the stretch, but he is still working his way back from a long-term shoulder injury, and the Nationals want to be sure he is fully healthy and durable before bringing him back to the majors.
Holland has a 2.93 ERA in 402 career appearances. If his season ended today, it would be the first of his career in which he didn’t average more than a strikeout per inning.