The Washington Nationals have signed reliever Greg Holland.
Holland posted a ghastly 7.92 ERA over 32 appearances with the Cardinals while watching his strikeout rate go way down, his walk rate going way up and his hits per nine innings almost doubling. It’s just been a nightmare season for a guy who, last year in Colorado, led the league with 41 saves and 58 games finished while posting a 3.61 ERA and striking out 11 batters per nine. Holland rejected the Rockies’ qualifying offer, bypassing $17.4 million salary for 2018. As a result, many felt the Cardinals got a relative bargain on him. That did not, of course, turn out to be the case.
The Nats are counting on a change of scenery to bolster their bullpen which has missed closer Sean Doolittle since he went down with a stress reaction in his foot a month ago. The pen is also shorthanded because the Nats traded two relievers recently because they didn’t like the cut of their jibs or whatever. Specifically, Shawn Kelley, traded after he had a little mound tantrum and glared at the manager, and Brandon Kintzler, traded for allegedly snitchin’ to the press.
The Nats currently trail the division-leading Phillies by 5.5 games.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”