The door hasn’t officially been shut on the possibility of pitcher Derek Holland returning to the Texas Rangers, but chances are that it is.
On Friday, the team signed former TCU alum Andrew Cashner to a one-year, $10 million deal. Cashner didn’t exactly have a solid year on the mound in 2016, finishing at 5-11 with the San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins. The Rangers had their eye on Cashner for a long time, and was finally able to seal the deal. So, with both pitchers being the same age, 30, what could have been the deciding factor?
It seemed time expired for Holland to become the type of dominant pitcher many felt he could be, at least with the Rangers. The team chose to decline his $11 million club option for next year in favor of a $1.55 million buyout.
Consistency, or lack of, was a word used frequently when discussing Holland. The injuries didn’t help either as he only made 35 starts over the last three years. Holland also experienced a drop in velocity and a lost spot in the Rangers rotation late in the season. He was then left off the American League Division roster. As the saying goes, the writing was on the wall.
Last season aside, Cashner has always been considered a solid pitcher stuck on bad teams with little run support. He has a four-seam fastball that can reach 100 miles-per-hour, mixed in with a slider and change-up that allows him to do something that Holland had issues with, finishing off hitters.
A change of scenery can help both sides. The Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees are among those rumored to be interested in Holland, who is likely getting a one-year deal around $6 million.
The Yankees look like an interesting choice as they have a good crop of young arms and no real need for a veteran with injury and consistency issues. With that said, if Holland goes to the Big Apple and turns things around, he’s a Cy Young candidate and a star. If not, he’s A.J. Burnett. Cutting Holland loose if things don’t work out wouldn’t exactly hamper the Yankees budget either, which possibly makes it worth the risk.
A deal can always be made to bring Holland back to Texas, and he has said he would like to return. However, with the addition of Cashner to fit in with Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels and Martin Perez in the starting rotation, that now seems unlikely.
Written by C. James