Left-hander Derek Holland has reportedly expressed an interest in joining the Pirates, according to Rob Biertempfel of TribLive.com. 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.