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Pirates offseason rumors: Derek Holland interested in Bucs

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The agent for lefty starter and former Ranger Derek Holland says his client is interested in pitching for the Pirates, Rob Biertempfel writes.

"I'd say the Pirates are on our short list," Holland's agent, Michael Martini, said on Saturday. ...

"We'd prefer a guaranteed spot, but Derek is not afraid to compete for a job," Martini said. "We'll see how the market develops, but we would be open to a one-year deal."

This is a little strange, in that you don't typically see reports of players expressing interest in teams that haven't previously employed them and aren't known to have offered them anything. (Biertempfel writes that the Bucs haven't made a concrete offer to Holland, although it wouldn't be surprising if there had been informal talks.)

Anyway, it's easy to understand why Holland and the Pirates are being linked. He was once relatively successful, he shouldn't cost much, and the Pirates need starting pitching. Notably, though, Holland isn't the typical Bucs reclamation project -- his stuff appears to have declined after years of injuries (including shoulder trouble), and last year he was throwing about two miles per hour slower than he did in his prime.

Unsurprisingly, he didn't get good results, with a 4.95 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 last season. His last good, healthy year was 2013. I can see why, to Holland, a one-year deal with the Pirates would be an attractive proposition. It's a little harder to see what the Pirates would get out of it. Perhaps they could conclude that his problems were mostly mechanical, or that they could somehow remake him into a two-seam pitcher who doesn't need the mid-90s velocity he once had. Personally, as an outsider, I'd prefer Andrew Cashner, whose cost should be similar -- Cashner has been healthier, throws harder and gets more grounders.