Derek Holland Rumors
9:24pm: The potential extension includes a club option for a sixth year, according to Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com.
12:29am: The Rangers are discussing a five-year extension with left-handed starter Derek Holland, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Holland missed this year's super two cutoff and is not yet arbitration eligible. A five-year deal would buy out one pre-arbitration season, his three years of arbitration eligibility and his first season of free agency.
Yovani Gallardo, Ricky Romero, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill are unavoidable points of reference for the Rangers and the Martini Sports Management client. All five starters signed five-year deals in the $30MM range at similar stages in their respective careers. Holland has more career innings than any of those pitchers did at the time of their extensions, but none of them had a career ERA above 3.94 at the time of their deals, while Holland has a career mark of 4.73. Options are often a point of contention in extension talks, so it's worth noting that the deals for Cahill and Buchholz include two club options, while the other deals include just one.
Holland, 25, posted a 3.95 ERA with 7.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 46.4% ground ball rate in 198 innings this past season. He set career highs in everything from ERA to innings to strikeouts (162) to wins above replacement (3.6). The Rangers control Holland's rights through 2015.
2:11pm: The White Sox are telling teams Danks is not available, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. It seems that Rosenthal threw his name out there as more of an example, anyway.
11:19am: The Rangers are pursuing White Sox reliever Matt Thornton, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and the Sox want starter Derek Holland in return. He adds that the Rangers would only move Holland for Thornton if the White Sox expanded the deal to include a starter such as John Danks. That'd make for an interesting story, with Sox GM Kenny Williams having stolen Danks from the Rangers in '06 for Brandon McCarthy.
Holland, a 24-year-old southpaw, is under team control through 2015. Danks, meanwhile, is a free agent after the 2012 season. Thornton will be signed through '14 if his club option is exercised.
The Rangers would have had to send five of their top young players to Kansas City to obtain Zack Greinke, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The Royals were asking for Tommy Hunter, Derek Holland, Michael Kirkman, Jurickson Profar and Engel Beltre.
Holland posted a 4.08 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 last year in his age-23 season, Hunter posted a 3.73 ERA in 128 innings in 2010 and is under team control for five more years and Profar, Beltre and Kirkman ranked 2nd, 5th and 6th, respectively, on Baseball America's preseason list of top Rangers prospects.
The Royals ultimately obtained Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi from the Brewers for Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt and $2MM. Now that Greinke has a cracked rib, the Rangers are probably glad they held onto their players.
Links for Saturday evening...
- Curious about how all the recent free agent activity has impacted the 2011 draft order? Check out the updated order here.
- Right-hander Radhames Liz has signed with the LG Twins of the Korean Baseball Organization according to the Yahoo! Sports transactions log. MLBTR has confirmed the signing. The Padres released Liz earlier this week.
- MLB.com's Peter Gammons says the Rangers thought they'd be able to acquire Robinson Chirinos from the Cubs, then package him with Derek Holland, Engel Beltre, and Frank Francisco to get Matt Garza from the Rays. Texas would have kicked in some money to offset Francisco's salary.
- "We're not giving away the farm to try and win in one year," said Cubs GM Jim Hendry when asked about the Garza deal, according to Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Garza is still under team control through 2013.
- It appears that the Nationals will have a smaller payroll than last year, according to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com.
- Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports applauds the Rockies for keeping their nucleus together. Earlier this week Colorado agreed to terms with Carlos Gonzalez on a contract extension.
- The Orioles' may have trouble finding an undervalued lefty reliever on a one-year deal, writes Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.
- Joe Torre is in talks to become the next executive vice president of operations for MLB, according to Teri Thompson and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Torre stepped down as Dodgers manager towards the end of 2010 season.
- Matt Murton talked to Anna Katherine Clemmons of ESPN The Magazine about his time in Japan.
The Cliff Lee trade talk started intensifying yesterday, as the Twins, Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers now have a new suitor to out-bid: the Rays. Not only are the Rays on the periphery of the Lee sweepstakes, they are ready to add payroll and appear willing to part with B.J. Upton. The Yankees are confident that they can jump in and pry Lee away from their divisional foes, but let's not rule out the Yanks' crosstown rivals. Here is the latest on Cliff Lee, with more rumors to come throughout the day:
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says that the Rangers are working hard to acquire Lee, but nothing is imminent. Texas has plenty of minor league talent to offer, but they don't appear to be willing to move Tanner Scheppers or Martin Perez according to Sullivan. Derek Holland, Blake Beavan, Chris Davis, Justin Smoak, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia could all be fair game. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Mariners "inquired about the availability" of Davis and Saltalamacchia. Righty Alexi Ogando is said to be on the Mariners radar, though "there is some resistance to include him in a deal" on the Rangers' side.
- Morosi expands on his earlier tweet, saying that the Reds and Mariners have exchanged names "in preliminary fashion," though the two sides have yet to exchange firm proposals. One GM called Cincinnati a "sleeper" in the Lee sweepstakes.
- CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam checked on the status of Boston's interest in Lee earlier today, and heard that the asking price was too high (Twitter links). Seattle wants a "stud catcher" close to the bigs, which the Red Sox simply don't have.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gets the impression that the Mariners aren't close to moving Lee, at least not to the Twins. He was also told that the two sides haven't exchanged official proposals, and that the Ramos-Hicks talk is "pure speculation."
- The Mariners are seeking a “mammoth return” for Lee, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. One executive interested in the left-hander said the Mariners made a “crazy ask,” demanding an even better package than Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks.
- FOX reports that the Twins offered Ramos and Kevin Slowey for Lee. At the moment, the Twins, Mets, Yankees and Rangers are most actively engaged with the Mariners in trade talks.
- The Mariners are calling teams back and telling them that it will take two blue-chip prospects plus a third young player to acquire Lee, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
- Two scouts tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that third base prospect Juan Francisco would be the Reds' best trade chip, not Yonder Alonso (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears that the Yankees are not engaged in trade talks for Lee now. They are confident they could acquire the left-hander, but do not intend to deal for him. Olney says the Twins are the favorites to acquire Lee, followed by the Reds, the Rays, the Mets, the Rangers and the field.
- The Mets officials who have spoken to Joel Sherman of the New York Post don’t seem concerned that the Twins are the perceived frontrunners for Lee. The perception within the game is that the Mariners are leaning more toward scouting than number crunching, and the Mets believe that will work in their favor.
Texas will look to improve their starting five from within, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Even though the club has the minor league talent to make a deal at the deadline, their financial situation could very well prove to be an impediment.
The Rangers are looking forward to Rich Harden and Derek Holland rejoining the rotation. Harden is on the disabled list with a strained back muscle and is scheduled to throw live batting practice tomorrow. Holland, who is dealing with inflammation in his left shoulder and a sprained right knee, could be close to throwing live batting practice as well. Both hurlers could be back in action before the Trade Deadline.
General Manager Jon Daniels says that even though he has his "finger on the pulse" of the trade market, he wants to see how the two look before looking to deal for an arm:
"We're very focused on improving the rotation internally right now," Daniels said earlier today. "From a health
standpoint we've got a couple of guys that we'd like to get back after
the All-Star break. A lot depends on how both proceed this week."
When Derek Holland makes his 2010 debut tonight, his major league service time starts piling up once again. If Holland stays in the majors until the end of this season, he has a good chance at becoming a Super Two player after next year. That means he would go to arbitration four times instead of three and would likely make millions more than he otherwise would.
Here's how it breaks down: Holland has 170 days of service time now. He can pile up 145 more days of service time this year if the Rangers keep him in the majors all season. That would leave Holland with 1.143 years of service time after this season. With another full year in the majors, he could have 2.143 years of service time after 2011, which be enough for Super Two status.
Holland's Super Two status depends on two things: the time he spends on the roster this year and the time he spends on it next year. If he doesn't see the minors again, he'll go to arbitration four times. So is he ready for the majors? The stats suggest he is. In 38.2 innings at Triple A, the 23-year-old lefty has a 0.93 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
We've completed the National League, so now it's time to jump over to the so-called junior circuit...
- Angels: They moved three pretty good young players to get Scott Kazmir last season, so they might prefer to hold onto the rest of their top prospects. Their best chip is someone you may not have heard of, out of options catcher Bobby Wilson. He's on the 25-man roster but has barely played as the third stringer, yet how many teams would love to have a 27-year old catcher with a very good defensive rep, a .290/.345/.425 batting line in 820 Triple-A plate appearances, and six years of team control left? Pretty much all of them. He'll never clear waivers if the Halos try to send him back to the minors.
- Athletics: Oakland has plenty of young pitching, but Billy Beane likes to hang on to those kind of guys, and for good reason. With ten infielders on the 40-man roster, someone like Jake Fox or Eric Patterson could be moved, as could outfielders Travis Buck or Gabe Gross since Michael Taylor is coming fast. Plus there's always Ben Sheets.
- Mariners: Jack Zduriencik surrendered a good amount of prospect depth this offseason by acquiring Cliff Lee, but no one will argue with that move. Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in 2009, will make Jose Lopez expendable in short order, and they could choose to make one of two minor league outfielders - Michael Saunders or Greg Halman - available. Seattle's best trade chip might be their potential ability to absorb some money.
- Rangers: Texas is absolutely loaded with young players, so they have plenty of pieces to offer. They can move Chris Davis because Justin Smoak is knocking on the door, or they could move Derek Holland because Martin Perez isn't too far away. They dangled Max Ramirez this winter, and outfielder David Murphy is about to get expensive through arbitration, so he could find himself on the block. Bottom line: the Rangers have the pieces to go out and get anything they need or want.
Earlier today, it was reported that the Brewers have inquired about Kevin Millwood's availability. MLB.com's Adam McCalvy says that while that may very well be true, it hasn't been anytime recently. According to McCalvy, Rangers GM Jon Daniels says he hasn't spoken with Brewers GM Doug Melvin in weeks.
Despite a lack of active talks, McCalvy states that the Rangers remain a possible trade target for the Brewers, even if Millwood isn't involved, due to their depth of options at starting pitching. While many teams would like to try to pull Tommy Hunter or Derek Holland away though, the Rangers would be more inclined to deal someone like Brandon McCarthy, writes McCalvy.
Whether or not Milwaukee is a match for Texas is yet to be seen. Texas would like to add a right-handed bat, but the best Milwaukee will be able to offer is Corey Hart, who is coming off a disappointing 2009 season. The Rangers interest in Hart may be dependent on whether or not free agent Marlon Byrd finds himself back in Texas next season.
McCalvy feels that the Rangers are likely to hold onto Millwood this winter and build their rotation around him and Scott Feldman. It's not hard, however, to see the logic behind dealing a 35-year-old coming off his best season since 2005. And, as McCalvy points out, the Brewers have been linked to Millwood in the past.
It's hard to gauge what the Texas Rangers will look to do this offseason. There are reports that they are interested in acquiring outfielder Milton Bradley from the Cubs, who would likely eat a large chunk of the $21MM owed to him over the next two years of his contract. At the same time, they may not have the cash necessary to retain Marlon Byrd, who has posted .283/.328/.483 with a career-high 20 HRs. Buster Olney and the Baseball Prospectus staff break down the season that was for the Rangers and what they can expect going forward. An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read the article, but here are the nuts and bolts of it:
- Signing John Lackey, widely regarded as this offseason's top free agent starter, would certainly bolster their rotation. However, Buster Olney says that GM Jon Daniels could be handcuffed financially by the impending change in ownership.
- Olney also theorizes that Daniels may not be able to roll the dice on the problematic Bradley, for fear of a public relations backlash under a new regime.
- The ownership situation is murkier than most, as anywhere between four and six groups are in contention to purchase the club. One group is led by team president Nolan Ryan, whose involvement is largely considered productive.
- The aforementioned Byrd earned $3MM in 2009, the final year of his contract. Re-signing him might require a two or three-year commitment at triple the price.
- Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus says that the Rangers have a good amount of pitching talent, but feels that they must live up to their potential. Rookies Derek Holland (ERAs of 5.77 in August and 10.20 in September) and Neftali Feliz have run out of gas down the stretch, but have shown tons of upside. If the Rangers feel confident in Matt Harrison and oft-injured Brandon McCarthy, they might not have to spend on a high-priced arm this winter to complement Kevin Millwood.