With Pedro Strop now out for the rest of the regular season, and Brandon Morrow at least a week away from any game action (and probably not at top speed nor able to go back-to-back for a while), the Cubs are going to have to mix-and-match at closer, as they did successfully Friday night.
But why not go and see if there’s someone available on the trade market? Anyone acquired now wouldn’t be eligible for the postseason, but could make a big difference in getting there, winning the N.L. Central and maintaining the best record in the National League.
Greg Holland could be that guy.
Holland, signed by the Cardinals to a $14 million deal a couple of days after the season began, was beyond awful for St. Louis. Part of this might be attributable to his lack of spring training — he was throwing for the big-league Cardinals nine days after he was signed. He had no saves and three blown saves and 10 appearances for them in which he allowed multiple runs. Being in the dysfunctional St. Louis clubhouse under Mike Matheny the first half of this year couldn’t have helped, either.
A few days after the Cardinals gave him his outright release, the Nationals signed him, and he’s been lights-out for them, allowing just one run in 19 appearances covering 16⅔ innings. His velocity has been good; about the only negative for him since he came to the Nats is a somewhat high walk rate (4.3 per nine innings).
But Holland has significant closing experience, including for two World Series teams with the Royals. He led the N.L. in saves in 2017 with the Rockies with 41, and though he faded late, he had just four blown saves.
The Nats are pretty much out of contention now, 9½ games out of first place and seven games behind the second wild-card spot. They’re not likely keeping Holland beyond this year; he’s a free agent at the end of the season and will turn 33 in the offseason. He wouldn’t likely be a Cub beyond this year if they acquired him.
It wouldn’t cost much money-wise; since the Cardinals released him, they are on the hook for his contract and the Cubs would only pay a pro-rated portion of the minimum salary, which with two weeks left in the season amounts to just a little over $40,000.
The Cubs would probably have to send the Nats some sort of mid-level prospect for Holland. In my view it’d be worth it. By the postseason, Morrow could be back at close to full strength, and Strop also could be available.
But the Cubs have to nail down the next two weeks. Greg Holland could be exactly the right guy to do it.
This poll is closed
Go get him, no matter the cost!
Depends what the Cubs would have to give up
Nope. Not worth it.