Last week, the Texas Rangers announced that they will not be picking the 2017 club option on Derek Holland, thus making him a free agent. Had the Rangers picked up the option, Holland would have made $11 million in 2017.
As hard as it is to say, the Texas Rangers made the right decision. Holland can’t seem to stay healthy and his performance has been very inconsistent the past three years.
Paying Holland $11 million with the risk of him getting hurt again and/or not performing effectively is NOT worth it. Especially if it’s for one season. This is a risk that no franchise can afford.
In 2012, Derek Holland signed a five-year contract that was worth $28.5 million. During that period of time, he experienced many downs. Holland hasn’t been healthy for a full season since 2013. In the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he spent a lot of time on the disabled list with numerous nagging injuries.
Last season, Holland finished 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA and was not on the rotation for the playoff series against the Toronto Blue Jays. No one will ever forget Holland’s performances during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, especially in that one game in the 2011 World Series. However, Holland is not the same player he was. Since 2014, he’s been well on the decline, so i think it is safe to say that Holland is officially past his prime.
Holland did publicly announce that he was willing to allow the Rangers to match any offers given to him by another team. Holland also said that he’d love to return to the Rangers organization.
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Though it’s not clear if the Rangers are interested in re-signing Holland. The Rangers’ pitching rotation is a mess and the Rangers can’t afford any mistakes. When a baseball organization is working to improve their pitching rotation, there can’t be any mistakes.
Now if the Rangers were to offer a new deal for Holland, it would have to be a one-year contract worth $2.5 million. If the Rangers were to make such an offer to Holland, it would mean that they really want to keep him, but before they can give another big contract, he would need to prove to them that he’s still a very important asset to the organization and that he can live up to his expectations.
Mitch Moreland was given a one-year deal to prove himself in 2016 and Moreland did. Ian Desmond was also given the opportunity to prove himself with a one-year deal. So Holland should take this opportunity as well. If Moreland and Desmond can prove themselves, then Holland can do it.
In order for Holland to be a useful asset for the Rangers again, he’ll have to accept a small contract and rebuild. If he were to sign with Texas for one year and have a decent season where he is able to stay healthy for at least 80 percent of the season, then he can be given another one-year deal the following off-season to fully test himself and convince the organization that he still has it all in him.
Perhaps if he was re-signed by Texas, the best place for him to start rebuilding would be on the bullpen. On the bullpen, he can slowly rebuild his technique and he can slowly but surely shake off any rust and find his groove again.
But my answer to why letting Holland test the free agent market is this: Holland is simply not worth paying $11 million a season. He’s very injury prone and it seems as if he’s lost his touch. In other words, you don’t pay a player with a past a lot of money. And right now, Holland is regarded as a player with a past and not a future.