The Blue Jays are in agreement with Derek Holland, the left-hander playfully revealed on Twitter. It’s a minor league contract for the 35-year-0ld, who opted out of a non-roster deal with the Red Sox over the weekend.
Holland didn’t get a big league crack in Boston, and he’ll try to pitch his way onto the MLB roster in Toronto. If he eventually earns a call, it’d be the 14th consecutive year in which he reaches the majors. Holland spent the bulk of that time as a starter, but he’s moved to relief more or less full-time going back to 2019. Holland has just a 5.98 ERA in 174 2/3 innings over the last three years, but he’s held left-handed hitters to a paltry .211/.281/.294 line over 226 plate appearances.
Last season, Holland made 39 outings and tossed 49 2/3 frames of 5.07 ERA ball with the Tigers. He signed a minors deal with the Red Sox in mid-March and forwent his first opt-out opportunity at the start of the regular season. Assigned to Triple-A Worcester, he allowed nine runs in 11 1/3 innings. Holland punched out 13 batters but also issued seven walks in that stretch. He was one of a handful of veterans afforded a May 1 opt-out right by the collective bargaining agreement, and he triggered that provision. Boston elected to release him rather than add him to the major league roster.
The Jays already have a fair bit of left-handed bullpen depth, so Holland could have his work cut out for him getting back to the big leagues. Tim Mayza is locked in as the primary lefty set-up man, while offseason signee Andrew Vasquez is in the majors. Tayler Saucedo and Ryan Borucki are each on the injured list, but the latter has progressed to throwing live batting practice sessions. Borucki is out of minor league option years, meaning the Jays will have to keep him on the active roster when he returns or take him off the 40-man entirely.