Now here's a surprise . . . .
Lefty Derek Holland has agreed to a one-year, $6M deal with the White Sox. Holland was one of the few free agent pitchers, in fact maybe the only one other than Ivan Nova, who's been connected to the Pirates. Most likely, that's because he figured to be possibly the cheapest established starter on the market. Holland is well removed from his solid, 2011-13 stretch with Texas. A string of injuries intervened and he's lost 2-3 mph off his fastball. In 166 innings during the past two seasons, he's had an ERA of 4.93 and xFIPs that are about the same.
I'm not sure what the appropriate reaction is here. Holland was unlikely to be more than the next Ryan Vogelsong, i.e., a pitcher whose sole qualification was cheapness. His perceived value is evident from the very modest deal he got in an extreme seller's market. On the whole, I think it's just as well he's headed elsewhere, as prospects like Steve Brault and Trevor Williams probably have more upside without being appreciably riskier. Holland just isn't a guy who'd be in a contender's rotation. On the other hand, the fact that the Pirates were interested and still, predictably, got out-bid despite the low price tag illustrates just how suffocating is the financial straight jacket they find themselves, or have put themselves, in.