Free agent starter Derek Holland is interested in signing with the Pirates, although the Bucs have not yet made Holland an offer, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. “I’d say the Pirates are on our short list,” says Holland’s agent, Michael Martini.
“We’d prefer a guaranteed spot, but Derek is not afraid to compete for a job,” says Martini. “We’ll see how the market develops, but we would be open to a one-year deal.”
The Pirates appear likely to hunt for low-cost rotation help, since their starting pitching options beyond Gerrit Cole (including Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, Drew Hutchison, Trevor Williams and top prospect Tyler Glasnow) are mostly very young. They have a reputation for fixing pitchers, and various hurlers (including J.A. Happ, Edinson Volquez and, later this winter, Ivan Nova) have cashed in, or will cash in, on the free agent market after pitching well in Pittsburgh.
Holland was once an important cog in the Rangers rotation, but missed most of the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to injury and struggled to a 4.95 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 107 1/3 innings in 2016 while also experiencing decreased velocity. The Rangers declined his team option for 2017. Holland would appear to be a candidate for the Pirates to cheaply gamble on this winter if they feel they can help him recapture something resembling his 2011-13 prime, when he pitched nearly 600 innings with an ERA below four.