This offseason the Pirates will be on the prowl for starting pitching help. There is a starting pitcher interested in trying to help: Derek Holland.
According to multiple sources, left-handed starting pitcher Derek Holland is interested in signing with the Pirates. Holland’s agent Michael Martini said on Saturday that the Pirates are on a ‘short list’ of teams his client is interested in joining.
The 30-year old Holland has spent his entire eight year Major League career with the Texas Rangers. In 985 career innings Holland owns a 4.35 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 4.11 xFIP, and a 12.0 WAR. He also owns a strong 790:311 strikeout-to-walk rate.
In addition to wanting to join the Bucs, Holland is willing to take a Minor League contract. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
“We’d prefer a guaranteed spot, but Derek is not afraid to compete for a job,” says Martini. “We’ll see how the market develops, but we would be open to a one-year deal.”
Personally, I would be leery of signing Derek Holland to a guaranteed Major League contract. First off, Holland struggled mightily in 2016. In 107 1/3 innings pitched he only averaged 5.26 K/9 and he had a career low 38.3 percent ground ball rate. Furthermore, his ERA (4.95) and his FIP (4.75) were both the highest they have been since his rookie campaign in 2009.
Secondly, Holland has always had injury issues. He pitched 198 innings in 2011 and 213 in 2013, other than that he has only 140 innings pitched one other time in his career. I would like to see the Pirates add more of an innings eater to the rotation this offseason.
Due to being a left-handed pitcher, PNC Park should be a good fit for Derek Holland. But I still am not a big fan of his. Personally, I’d rather see someone such as Trevor Williams or Drew Hutchison make starts for the Pirates over Holland in 2017.
I would not complain about the Pirates signing Derek Holland to a Minor League deal. Minor League deals are always a no risk high reward move. However, I would be very hesitant to give him a Major League deal worth more than four or five million dollars. Hopefully, Neal Huntington feels the same way I do.