If there’s one thing that the Pirates desperately need, it’s left-handed pitching. On that note, per Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic, the Bucs have signed veteran lefty Derek Holland to a minor league deal today.
Industry source confirms that LHP Derek Holland has signed a minor league contract with the #Pirates. He'll get an invite to spring training. He can opt out if not on opening-day roster.— Rob Biertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) January 31, 2020
Holland made 51 relief outings last year for Cubs & Giants: 6.08 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 8.8 K/9
Rumblings about the signing started last night, but Holland made it semi-official with this tweet:
Holland, 33, made his MLB debut in 2009 with the Texas Rangers, starting for them through the 2016 season. He’s also pitched for the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants, and was most recently with the Chicago Cubs. He has a lifetime record of 78-78 with a 4.54 ERA, a 9.0 WAR, and a WHIP of 1.372. After a fall off in his starting performances, he transitioned to relief during his time with the Giants. As per Biertempfel’s tweet, Holland has been invited to Bradenton and can opt out of this contract should be not make the roster.
This is the second time this week that the Pirates have offered a minor-league deal to a left-handed pitcher, signing former Padre Robbie Erlin to one on Tuesday. Right now, it’s not known if Holland will remain in a reliever status or possibly go up against Erlin for the projected fifth spot in the rotation, but it does seem that the front office is trying to address the lack of southpaws on the current staff and give some experienced guys a shot without a lot of commitment.