One of the starting pitching targets most commonly linked to the Pirates this off-season was Derek Holland. The lefty ended up agreeing to a deal today with the Chicago White Sox for one year and $6 M, with $1 M in performance bonuses.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 14, 2016
The Pirates had been linked to Holland often, and met with his representatives last week at the winter meetings. My thought on Holland was that he’d be fine as a gamble for a second starting pitching option, but that he shouldn’t be their primary target. He had a 4.3 fWAR in 2013, but injuries have derailed his career, and he now seems like a back of the rotation starter at best. I don’t know if I’d say it’s impossible for him to bounce back, but he’s seen his velocity drop 2 MPH since that 2013 season, and his K/9 rate drop from 7.99 to 5.62. So it doesn’t seem like he’s a strong candidate for a bounce back.
This does raise the question about who the Pirates will sign for their rotation. They’ve still been connected to Ivan Nova, and his market has been pretty quiet so far. There’s also the option of a trade, with the Pirates being connected again to the Rays for Jake Odorizzi. Losing out on Holland isn’t a bad thing, but is a reminder that the Pirates are still searching for a rotation upgrade.