Derek Holland has had a good spring thus far. As the Pittsburgh Pirates are searching for a solid back-end of the rotation pitcher, he is starting to separate himself as a likely candidate.
Derek Holland, now with 11 MLB seasons under his belt, has put himself in prime position to make the Pittsburgh Pirates 2020 roster. After spending eight seasons with the Texas Rangers, he signed with the Chicago White Sox in 2017 and posted some of the worst numbers of his career.
In 2018, he bounced back in a big way with the San Francisco Giants and was traded to the Cubs mid-way through the 2019 season, where he struggled again. There was no guarantee going into the 2020 season that he would land a job anywhere due to his age and declining effectivness in the league.
A Pirate team that has been in need for quality starting pitching decided to take a flyer on the 33-year-old. By no means is Holland a front of the line starter, but can still add some value as a fifth option. With the spring he has had, it is starting to look as if he has the upper hand to land a starting gig. In his three starts Holland has posted a 3.24 ERA through 8.1 innings pitched. Hits have been hard to come by against him specifically against the Rays where he allowed only one through 4 innings. It is encouraging to see that he has been getting his fair share of strike outs as well, considering that he isn’t a strike out type of pitcher.
With Steven Brault going down with a shoulder injury a few days ago, Holland makes even more sense to become the Pirates fifth starter. Chad Kuhl has also had a good Spring coming off of his Tommy John Surgery, but with the injury to Clay Holmes will likely allow him to slide into a middle relief option in the bullpen, where he figures to be anyway. It is currently Holland’s job for the taking and we will see if he can run with it. It also doesnt hurt to have a left-handed option in the rotation.