Posted on January 14, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
It’s been a quiet offseason for the San Francisco Giants. But they finally made a little bit of noise on Monday, re-signing left-handed starter Derek Holland. The sides agreed to a one-year deal with a base salary of $6.5 million. There is also a club option for the 2020 season worth between $6.5 million and $8.5 million depending on how many starts Holland makes in 2019. The Giants could also buy out the option for $500,000, making the total contract worth at least $7 million and as much as $15 million.
For Holland, such a contract would have seemed far-fetched a year ago. After plenty of good years with the Rangers, Holland endured a brutal 2017 campaign with the White Sox, going 7-14 with a 6.20 ERA. It was such a poor season from Holland that he was actually released from the team in early September, putting his big league career in doubt. A year ago, Holland ended up having to take a minor league contract with the Giants and earn his way back to the majors.
Of course, Holland did just that. He made San Francisco’s opening day roster and ended up being the team’s most consistent and reliable starter. Holland led the Giants with 30 games started while also making six relief appearances. Despite going just 7-9, Holland posted a 3.57 ERA and a WHIP of 1.29. He also accumulated 171.1 innings, the most he’s pitched since the 2013 season. In the end, Holland was a pleasant surprise for the Giants and earned a chance to stay in San Francisco at a decent salary.
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Barring additional signings, Holland would appear to be a lock for San Francisco’s rotation in 2019. Madison Bumgarner is the unquestioned ace of the staff. However, Johnny Cueto is likely to miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. Jeff Samardzija also comes with health concerns after shoulder trouble limited him to just 10 starts last season. With nothing guaranteed out of Cueto and Samardzija, rotation depth could be an issue for the Giants in 2019.
In addition to Holland, the Giants will be relying on youngsters like Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez to become mainstays in their rotation. Both had impressive rookie campaigns last season, although a sophomore slump from either could be troublesome for San Francisco. That makes it all the more important for Holland to provide some stability in the starting rotation behind Bumgarner.
Based on their inactivity to this point in the offseason, the Giants clearly don’t have much money to spend. With that being the case, Holland is a good pick up for them. Outside of his 2017 season, the lefty has proven to be a solid back-end starter. If he can come anywhere close to matching his productivity from last season, Holland will provide good value for his salary and some much-needed help for San Francisco’s rotation. He may not move the needle much, but there’s little downside to the Giants re-signing him.