Left-handed pitcher Derek Holland signed a one-year contract, with a team option for a second year, with the San Francisco Giants on Monday.
Holland pitched for the Giants in 2018 and led the team in innings and strikeouts. He started 30 games and showed his versatility by making six appearances out of the bullpen. This fits with Farhan Zaidi’s philosophy when it comes to roster construction of having multiple pitchers who are comfortable starting or relieving.
Holland will be paid $7 million in 2019, per Alex Pavlovic, with the Giants having the opportunity to keep him on for 2020. The lefty was a popular member of San Francisco’s clubhouse last season and provides much-needed consistency in the rotation. Madison Bumgarner will almost certainly be traded in July, if not before, while Johnny Cueto is out for the season with Tommy John and Jeff Samardzija is an uncertainty after an injury-riddled 2018.
Youngsters Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez racked up 118.1 and 160.1 innings respectively last season. Chris Stratton provided 145 innings. Rodriguez was the best of the three, with a 2.81 ERA. Stratton and Suarez were inconsistent, though both will likely start 2019 in the rotation. Former 88th MLB prospect Tyler Beede was poor in his two starts and is destined to become a reliever if he is to have a Major League career.
Holland, like Bumgarner, will be a trade asset should he perform anything like he did last season. Guys who can start and relieve are very valuable for any postseason team. Holland was comfortable in both roles last season and will likely get the chance to demonstrate that again under Zaidi, who favoured a fluid use of his pitchers in Los Angeles.
The Giants are beginning what could be a lengthy rebuild. Signings like Holland are a smart move for a team keen to restock the farm, rather than just work on a minimal payroll. The former Ranger is a good pickup for the Giants, he could be an undervalued trade option for contenders midway through the season.