As the New Year approaches, the Texas Rangers are still on their quest to find starting pitching. Could former Ranger, Derek Holland, be an option?
After inking Lance Lynn to a three-year deal, the Texas Rangers will move on to the rest of the free agent pool in search of more starting pitching. While Dallas Keuchel headlines those still available, former Rangers player, Derek Holland, may be the most viable option. Holland, now 32, spent 8 seasons with Texas after being drafted by the Rangers back in the 25th round of the 2006 draft.
After his departure from the Rangers, Holland spent a season with the Chicago White Sox and a season with the San Francisco Giants. In his season in Chicago, 2017, he had a down year making 26 starts (29 appearances) and going just 7-14. His ERA was sky-high at 6.20 and he struggled to keep runners off base. Giving up 10 hits per 9 innings and 5 walks, the former Texas fan favorite struggled to get a foothold in the south side of Chicago.
In 2018, Holland moved to the San Francisco Giants though and had an incredible resurgence. He made 30 starts for the first time since 2013 and for only the 3rd time in his career. His record of 7-9 didn’t reflect his quality in 2018 as he saw his ERA drop back to 3.57 and his strikeouts per 9 innings jumped from 6.9 in 2017 to 8.9 in 2018. He nearly doubled his strikeout to walk ratio, dropped opponent’s hits per 9 to just 8.1 and his walks per 9 dropped to just 3.5. Now that his 1-year, $1,750,000 contract with San Fran is up, he seems poised for a multi-year deal.
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What He Could Do For Texas
As the rotation is built now, Mike Minor and Lance Lynn are locks for the one and two spots but beyond that, it’s somewhat up in the air. Any combination of Ariel Jurado, Yohander Mendez, Drew Smyly, and Edinson Volquez will make up the rest of the rotation. Derek Holland could add some much-needed talent and experience to that makeup. Volquez and Smyly are both coming off season-long injuries while Jurado and Mendez have a combined 13 starts between them.
Adding Holland would give Texas a viable third or fourth man in the rotation that, if he comes close to matching his numbers from 2018, would be a plus for Texas. At 32, he still has a couple of years of prime pitching left meaning the Rangers could try and bring him back on a two or three-year deal similar to Lance Lynn. For the fans, it also would give a familiar face in this transition and one that was beloved in his time in Arlington.
Will It Happen?
While it’s been reported that the two sides have talked, there’s no indication that they are any closer to a deal than Texas is with any other pitcher they’ve conversed with. It’s still fairly early in the offseason and Holland’s market will develop a bit more when some other pieces start to fall in free agency. If I had to put money on a free agent coming to Arlington though, it would be Derek Holland. A fan favorite that is more than just a ticket seller but a respectable starting pitcher seems too good to pass up.