The Rangers are "on the verge" of signing left-hander Derek Holland to a contract extension, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The deal would be for at least five years (though the 2016 season), overriding Holland's near-league minimum salary for this season and covering his three arbitration years and his first year of free agency.
We heard in December that the two sides were discussing a five-year extension with an option for a sixth year, though talks were thought to be shelved in January. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith considered that extensions given to such pitchers as Jon Lester, Ricky Romero and Yovani Gallardo (five years for around $30MM) were "unavoidable points of reference" for a possible Holland extension.
The Rangers have also signed Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus to extensions this offseason, though those contracts were just for two and three years, respectively, and only covered each player's arbitration seasons. Obviously Texas has more interest in locking Holland up for the longer-term, given that Cruz is 31 and Andrus could be made expendable in a few years by top shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar.
Holland, 25, was a key part of the Texas rotation last season, posting a 3.95 ERA in 32 starts with a 46.4% ground ball rate and a 2.42 K/BB ratio. He also threw a gem in Game Four of the World Series, shutting out the Cardinals on just two hits over 8 1/3 innings. Holland is represented by Martini Sports Management.