The Pittsburgh Pirates were not super active last offseason, especially with the big league roster. However, was one player new to the team in 2020 that is now a free agent.
Yesterday, we looked at Keone Kela‘s time with the Pittsburgh Pirates and what led to him becoming a free agent for the 2020-2021 Offseason. In the article, I pointed out that the team would not be dealing with losing too many players to free agency. Formally, there will only be one other player that will be joining Kela as a free agent.
This player is left-handed pitcher Derek Holland. The Pittsburgh Pirates brought Derek Holland in last offseason on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. While he was signed on a minor league contract, many expected that Holland would break camp with the team. Well he did, but it was as a starter and not a reliever. Holland had spent a lot of time pitching as a reliever the last few seasons, so many thought his time as a starter was up.
Instead, Holland came in showed he could eat up some innings and be an effective number five man in the rotation for some time. Yes, he had his ups and downs, but that should have been expected with a veteran journeyman at this point in his career. This includes two games earlier in the year that he got lit up, giving up 17 earned runs across 10 innings pitched (he pitched five innings both times).
Overall, these two poor starts skewed his final stat line a lot, giving him a 6.16 ERA across his 40.2 innings of work. If you eliminate those two disastrous outings, his ERA drops two full runs to 4.17. While this is still not great, it is much more respectable than an ERA over 6.00.
Eventually the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Holland to the bullpen. The team was not able to find a deal for him at the August 31st Trade Deadline. So when September started, and Mitch Keller was ready to come back to the mound, the team decided to give the younger arms more reps in the rotation.
Holland finished the year in the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen. While they were not able to get any value in return for him, he still helped the Bucs get to the end of what was going to be a tough season. If anything, Holland brought a veteran role to the club, one that could be seen while watching the games. He often would be caught on camera talking with some of the younger arms. Holland will likely move on to another team this offseason, but do not be surprised if the Pittsburgh Pirates bring in a veteran in a similar situation this offseason.