Injuries were once again a key part of the plot with Derek Holland's season in 2016, as he was limited to 22 games -- 20 starts -- during his final year with the Rangers. While he chipped away at his extremely high home-run rate from the previous season, Holland's flyball tendencies remained problematic as he's unable to replicate the bat-missing ability he showed at the outset of his time in Texas. The 107.1 innings that Holland amassed in 2016 represented his highest total since 2013, but he's now posted back-to-back seasons with an ERA that has flirted with the 5.00 mark. Seeking a veteran presence during their rebuilding effort, the White Sox inked Holland to a low-risk one-year deal during the offseason, and health permitting, he'll likely open the season as one of the team's rotation members. He's a big restoration projection for pitching coach Don Cooper, but there are younger arms to consider in the endgame while panning for value.
Holland threw his first bullpen session Tuesday and reported feeling "awesome" after battling injuries the last three seasons, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports. The 30-year-old Holland, who spent the first eight years of his career with Texas, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the White Sox, presumably to fill a spot in the rotation. He's made just 35 starts over the past three seasons, a workload limited by a left-knee injury in 2014, a strained left-shoulder muscle in 2015, and then left-shoulder inflammation in 2016. The veteran left-hander is targeting 200 innings, a threshold he's met just once during his career. Meeting that goal will be a challenge, particularly on a rebuilding team with a glut of pitching prospects at Triple-A -- Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer -- that are likely make their way to Chicago this season.
Holland agreed to a one-year deal with the White Sox on Wednesday, MLB.com's TR Sullivan reports. He could earn up to $8 million including incentives as part of the deal. A shoulder injury limited Holland to 107.1 innings in 2016, and he was pretty awful when he took the mound, posting a 4.95 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 67:35 K:BB. Holland should have the inside track to the No. 5 starter spot ahead of prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and he could be the No. 4 starter if the team trades Jose Quintana. The White Sox will no doubt look to re-establish Holland's value and then flip him to a contender mid-season. Given his recent injury issues and poor performance, he should be seen as nothing more than a late-round flyer in really deep formats.
Holland will not have his option picked up by the Rangers, thus making him a free agent, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. There were rumors swirling about that Holland might get traded to a team willing to pick up his 2017 option, but after no suitors came forth, the Rangers let the left-hander go. His numbers have steadily worsened over the past few seasons due to a number of injuries, but the 30-year-old could provide a veteran presence in the back end of a rotation wherever he lands over the winter.
Holland has been moved to the bullpen for the rest of the season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports He turned in three straight quality starts upon his return from a shoulder injury in August but it's been a different story in his last three outings. With 13 earned runs allowed on 23 hits in his last 14.2 innings, Holland's ERA has pushed back above 5.00, prompting is removal from the starting rotation. The Rangers will determine over the next week if Holland is a viable bullpen option for the postseason.
Holland (7-9) was the losing pitcher in Wednesday night's 5-4 loss to the Angels, surrendering five runs (four earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out three. Imploding again for his third straight outing, Holland threw just 71 pitches (45 strikes) in his 20th start of the season. After Mike Trout extended the lead in the fifth with a one-out, three-run bomb, Holland was allowed to finish the inning, despite the 5-1 hole he'd put his team in. The 29-year-old left-hander will likely be moved to the pen come the playoffs, as he's now allowed at least four earned runs in his past three outings, conjuring a 8.24 ERA and 2.04 WHIP over 14.2 innings.