By Jared Lankes
It was reported a couple of days ago that the Texas Rangers were actively pursuing a split with Derek Holland. It makes sense since the former highly-touted lefty has not been able to get it right recently. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, Holland has been a shell of his former self. And with an expensive option coming the Rangers way for his services in 2017 that will need accepted or declined very shortly after the World Series, the Rangers are trying desperately to deal him before then. In light of this news, I figured it would be a good time to check out whether he would be a guy the Pirates should consider trading for.
Firstly, the one thing that stands out is he is just the kind of pitcher the Pirates like. He is a lefty that has had some recent success. The Pirates have had successful reclamations for guys like that. Examples include Wandy Rodriguez, Francisco Liriano and J.A. Happ. Derek Holland is another potential example for the Pirates. There is very clear potential for Holland to bounce back with the Pirates under the watchful eye of Ray Searage.
The Pirates starting rotation is in need of a lefty starter to go along with the plethora of right-handers. The only question would be whether he is a stable lefty. They’ve seen what happens last year when the lefty they acquired isn’t stable (Jon Niese). They don’t want to make that mistake again. This means, the real question overall will end up being: “Is he a better option than Steven Brault”. For Holland, the upside says yes, but the downside is a massive no.
Through all of this, Holland is an affordable target for anyone, including the Pirates. He’s very affordable in money and likely acquisition cost, especially considering the Rangers are desperate to move on from him. A team might very well jump the market before the Rangers likely decline his option just to avoid the chance of him making more in a weak starting pitching free agent market, and so that they wouldn’t need to compete in free agency for him. Because of the affordability and the market for him, I could certainly see the Pirates looking into a guy like Holland to fill-in the rotation spot.
Now, do I see it coming into fruition? Well, no. I really can’t say anything is set in stone. The Pirates always seem to pick up players that nobody even thought about. But, if the market is good for his services, the Pirates certainly will do their due dillegence, especially considering their constant constraints to get talent onto their MLB roster. Therefore, if Holland can be had at a good cost, it’d certainly be a do-able move.