Posted on May 12, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
Things have not gone well for the San Francisco Giants this season. To add insult to injury, pitcher Derek Holland has gone on a tirade against the team’s front office in which he claimed he latest stint on the Injured List was due to a fake injury. For a team that began Sunday with the second-fewest wins in the National League, it’s not what the doctor ordered.
The ordeal began with the Giants announcing that Holland was being moved to the bullpen. The veteran lefty was outstanding for San Francisco last season but has struggled early in 2019. Through seven starts, he’s 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA. In his most recent start on Thursday, Holland lasted just 2.2 innings against the Rockies, yielding seven runs, including three home runs. That outing turned out to be the last straw for the Giants.
“Sometimes you break it up,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of moving Holland to the bullpen. “You try to get him back on track, too. He gives you a legit long guy, another left-hander there. He has experience. He showed how well he can handle that. He’s resilient. We just feel at this point we’re better off having helping out of the bullpen.”
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Naturally, Holland wasn’t happy about the demotion to the bullpen. He used the occasion to complain about the state of the team and the ones calling the shots. He made sure not to insult Bochy, but rather go against the team’s front office.
“To be honest, I have no idea what they’re doing, and I don’t mean that by Boch and them, it’s more for the front office,” Holland said. “We keep changing things. I get a fake injury, so I’m not happy about that. But at the end of the day, I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do.”
The “fake injury” quote certainly turned some heads. Prior to his most recent start, Holland had a short stint on the IL with a bruise to his left index finger. He picked up the injury during bunting drills in spring training. Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained that the team wanted the injury to heal even though Holland said he was fine to continue pitching. Obviously, Holland wasn’t pleased with being forced to the IL.
“His use of the word ‘fake’ probably comes from feeling he could continue to pitch with it,” said Zaidi. “Players and the staff and front office people sometimes have differences of opinion when they should or shouldn’t play.”
To his credit, Zaidi isn’t making a big deal out of Holland’s criticism. The lefty’s comments were borderline-insubordinate. To be fair, Holland does have a point. The Giants are already without Drew Pomeranz, who is on the IL, and Dereck Rodriguez, who was just sent to triple-A after a rough start to the season. Now doesn’t seem like an ideal time to be bumping Holland from the rotation.
Nevertheless, Holland failed to show respect for the team’s decision. It’s not his place to make decisions about when he’s called on to pitch. Based on his performance this season, he should have been more understanding of his demotion. On the surface, both sides appear to be moving on from Holland’s comments. However, it’s hard to deny that there’s a rift between a player and the front office, which is the last thing the Giants need right now.