The White Sox announced Wednesday afternoon that they have reached a 1 year agreement for $6 MM with free agent left-handed starting pitcher Derek Holland. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Holland can also earn an additional $2 MM in incentives for innings pitched milestones in 2017. Holland became a free agent when the Texas Rangers declined to exercise their team option of $11 MM for the 2017 season, instead buying him out for $1.5 MM. Holland has spent his entire career with the Rangers and pitched with mixed success in 2016 finishing with a 7-9 record and a 4.95 ERA in 107.1 innings. Holland missed significant time in 2016 with a lingering shoulder injury.
Holland has not only struggled with injuries and consistency in 2016, but also in 2014 and 2015. Last year, his velocity dropped significantly. However, he still has good overall stuff and is a strong bounce back candidate — a great value at $6 MM. If healthy, he should provide quality innings and a good clubhouse presence. In a press release from the White Sox, Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Hahn said, “Derek gives a veteran, left-handed presence for our starting rotation with a proven track record of pitching well in big games. This provides us with additional depth and flexibility in the rotation.” Holland will play the 2017 season at age 30. Working with highly regarded White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper should help to rebuild his value for a potential long term free agent contract in 2018. Perhaps not coincidentally, Holland’s other main suitor, the Pittsburgh Pirates, boast an outstanding pitching coach of their own in Ray Searage. In my opinion, should Holland have a strong first half, look for the White Sox to shop him at the trade deadline to teams looking to add pitching for a playoff push. This is a very low-risk, savvy, and underrated signing that has the potential to play out very well for the White Sox. -DV
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Photo: Keith Allison