Posted on November 13, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Left-handed starter Derek Holland became a free agent earlier this month when the Texas Rangers declined his option for 2017. However, despite now being on the open market and free to sign with any of the 30 major league teams, Holland says he is holding out hope for a return to the Rangers, and that he will give Texas a chance to match any offer he gets from another team.
Despite not having his option picked up, Holland was impressed with how Texas GM Jon Daniels handled the situation. “We sat down and we talked about everything. He was class-act with me. Super nice, told me what was going on,” Holland told a radio show earlier this week. “Just told me straight up, he’s loved everything I’ve done and been a part of for this organization and helped out. Just told, ‘It’s that time, I think we’re gonna decline the option and we’ll see what happens next, kinda go from there.’ He told me that, he was very nice about it but it was very helpful, too, telling me what to expect.”
Holland has known no other organization beside the Rangers during his big league career, and so it’s only natural that he would be a little apprehensive about going elsewhere. “It would be weird to go somewhere else,” he says. “At the same time I’ve heard it many times, a special person told me, (former manager Ron Washington) was telling me, it might be good for you to have a change of scenery.”
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The Rangers weren’t able to find a trade partner for Holland before they decided to decline his option, but the southpaw has already started to receive interest as a free agent, specifically from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates have a history of taking back-end caliber starters like Holland and elevating their performance considerably, so Pittsburgh may not be a bad destination for the lefty. Holland’s agent also admitted over the weekend that the Pirates are indeed on the “short list” for signing Holland.
However, Holland says that he’s not going to jump ship before giving the Rangers one last chance to keep him on board. “I told (Daniels) when I get offered something, I want to throw that to them and see if they want to compete with it or whatnot,” Holland explained. “I want to give the Rangers a chance, no matter what. I’m always going to leave that door open. I’m not closing that door. If they close the door, then fine, I guess I have to close the door. But as far as I know it’s still open and I’m leaving it open for them as well.”
Behind the trio of Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, and Martin Perez, the Rangers have a couple openings in their rotation, leaving the door at least somewhat ajar for Holland to return to Texas. However, the Rangers may think twice about competing with other teams for the lefty’s services given how much time he’s missed due to injury over the past three years. Holland has made it clear he wants to stay in Texas, but whether the Rangers feel the same way is less of a certainty.