Report: LHP Derek Holland interested in Pirates

Getty Images

Left-hander Derek Holland has reportedly expressed an interest in joining the Pirates, according to Rob Biertempfel of Comments from Holland’s agent, Michael Martini, suggest that the free agent starter is open to competing for a rotation spot but would prefer a guaranteed slot heading into 2017. A one-year deal seems like the most likely route for the veteran, who was dismissed by the Rangers after they bought out his contract option at $11.5 million last Monday.

The 30-year-old is a free agent for the first time in his eight-year career after completing a final season with the Rangers in 2016. He pitched over 100 innings for the first time since 2013 and saw his first healthy season after undergoing arthroscopic microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2014 and suffering a shoulder strain in 2015. He returned to log 20 starts with Texas during the 2016 season, going 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA, a 1.91 K/BB rate, and 67 strikeouts over 107 1/3 innings.

Martini claims the left-hander is back up to full health, but the results from his latest season seem to recommend Holland for a spot at the back of the Pirates’ rotation. The Pirates have not officially commented on the situation, though it’s not the first time they’ve been linked to the lefty and they’re currently operating with a surplus of young, relatively-untested pitchers heading into 2017.

No talks appear to have been initiated by either side so far.

Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN on opening day

Getty Images

Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.

Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.

“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”

Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.

Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.

“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.

Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.