Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Veteran Lefty Derek Holland
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates have added another veteran lefty to the mix for the 2020 season
For the second time this week the Pittsburgh Pirates have added a veteran left-handed pitcher to their 2020 pitching equation. After signing Robbie Erlin on Wednesday, the team has now added Derek Holland to the mix. Like Erlin, Holland has been signed to a minor league deal.
Holland is a 11-year MLB veteran who has pitched for the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs. He started the 2019 season in San Francisco before being designated for assignment and catching on with the Cubs.
In his career Holland has pitched in 295 games, with 222 of them being starts. He has logged 1.375.2 innings while posting a 4.54 ERA and a 4.53 FIP.
Last season, Holland struggled mightily. Between the Giants and Cubs he posted a 6.08 ERA and a 6.10 FIP in 84.1 innings. These 84.1 innings came in 51 games, eight of which were starts.
Holland’s poor 2019 season came after a bounce back campaign with the Giants in 2018. In 2018 Holland pitched in 36 games, with 30 starts, for the Giants. He logged 171.1 innings in these 36 games while posting a 3.57 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 23.3% strikeout rate, and a 2.2 fWAR.
While all signs point toward Erlin being in the Pirate bullpen, it remains to be seen what Holland’s role will be. Chris Archer, Trevor Williams, Mitch Keller, and Joe Musgrove are locked into the Pirate starting rotation, so, Holland could compete with Chad Kuhl for the final rotation spot. He could also compete with Erlin, Steven Brault, and Sam Howard for a lefty spot in the bullpen.
Adding Holland could potentially give the Pirates a nice trade piece come July’s trade deadline. If he is able to pitch well, then a contending team would be likely to give up a prospect or two for Holland in July. Remember, even Jordan Lyles netted the Pirates a top 20 prospect last July.