Texas Rangers: Derek Holland

Rangers' Holland happy to be back at camp

February, 21, 2015
Feb 21
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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Derek Holland stood in front of his locker inside the Texas Rangers clubhouse on Saturday morning with a huge smile on his face while displaying the light-hearted attitude that he is known for.

It was the complete opposite of what the Rangers left-hander experienced at this time last year when he was a month removed from a freak knee injury that ended up costing him spring training and nearly all of the 2014 season.

"Last year, I was home and I was closest to my all-time low," Holland said. "I was very depressed because the injury had happened and I couldn't be here with my teammates. It was a tough time for me."

Holland made his return late in the season and was excellent in five starts, finishing 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA while allowing just six earned runs in 37 innings with 25 strikeouts. His performance not only erased any doubt about Holland returning to form following the injury, but also reinforced the notion that the left-hander was on the cusp of taking his career to the next level.

"I know it pained him to not be able to help when the team was struggling," GM Jon Daniels said. "You saw when he came back that he was motivated for a lot of reasons, including he had a chance to be a little bit of good news for us during a tough season."

There was some question about whether Holland would pitch at all last season, as the benefits of him throwing for a team out of contention were weighed against the perceived benefit of extra rest.

Given how Holland threw, the decision to let him pitch proved a wise one, not only to build confidence about his recovery, but also to show the Rangers that Holland is ready to be one o the anchors on an improved starting rotation.

"We know we have some questions," Daniels said about his team entering the 2015 season. "Hopefully he (Holland) answered one of them by showing he could pitch at such a high level.

"But what's fair is fair. He worked hard to get back, and once he was medically cleared to return there was no reason to take that away from him."

With camp underway, Holland is energized to get back on the mound after a strong finish in 2014 despite the small sample size.

"I've been working my butt off all offseason to get back out there and continue what I had at the end of last season. I didn't sleep that well last night because I was so excited to be out here and ready to go."

Ranking the Rangers: No. 5 Derek Holland

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
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RangersJim Cowsert/USA TODAY SportsThe Rangers need a full, healthy season from Derek Holland to get back into AL West contention.
We continue our ranking of the top 10 Texas Rangers with a look at the No. 2 starter.

No. 5: Derek Holland

2014 stats: 2-0, 1.46 ERA (in five starts), 37 IP, 6.1 K/9

2015 projected stats: 12-11, 4.17 ERA, 7.28 K/9, 2.1 WAR

AL West rank: This is a pretty competitive spot in the rotation. Scott Kazmir (190S innings) was an All-Star with Oakland in 2014, while Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma went 3-0 against Texas. Then we have Jered Weaver (18 wins, 213S innings), who is a top-tier starter for the Angels. Holland’s ability to win against these pitchers will determine plenty in 2015, particularly if the Rangers can contend for the division title.

Outlook: The Rangers missed Holland's presence this past season, and though there were plenty of critics regarding how he suffered a serious knee injury -- the left-hander tripped over his dog at home in January 2014 -- his efforts on the mound give you confidence he'll produce a solid 2015 season. Fully recovered from microfracture surgery, Holland projects as a double-digit winner. Will 12 wins be enough? Not for Texas to capture the division. Holland needs at least 14 victories, combined with the high total expected of staff ace Yu Darvish, to get the Rangers back in the hunt. The 28-year-old Holland pitched into the seventh inning in all five of his starts and threw at least 100 pitches in four of those outings. If the Rangers think Yovani Gallardo is a better No. 2 starter, Holland is more than capable of being a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. His maturity isn’t an issue, and he displayed tremendous leadership in the clubhouse, once he returned from injury. Wherever he stacks up, the Rangers need Holland, who can make at least 25 to 30 starts in 2015, healthy.

Projections from Steamer Projections, via FanGraphs.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- During the Texas Rangers' development camp Wednesday, pitching coach Mike Maddux made a revelation regarding the starting rotation: There might be one spot available.

The Rangers have Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, newly acquired Yovani Gallardo and we thought Ross Detwiler, whom the Rangers acquired in a trade last month, ready to start.

Maddux said not so fast.

“I would have to say there’s definitely a spot open and the more guys you have competing for that, I think that improves the depth in the organization,” he said. “But who’s to say that one of those guys might not make the ball club in a different role. Then, as the season rolls on, you're gonna need a spot start here and there, that’s inevitable. Sometimes those guys get an opportunity like that, ‘Hey we got to see that again.’ Next thing you know, you got six pretty good starters on your hands and you don’t have enough room for them, but that’s a good problem to have.”

Detwiler is moving to the rotation after spending last season in the bullpen for the Washington Nationals. Detwiler has spent a majority of his seven-year career (69 starts) as a starter. Washington moved him to the bullpen last year due to the surplus in the rotation. Now, Detwiler hopes to return to the rotation.

Maddux said there are no guarantees regarding Detwiler making the move back. The Rangers moved bullpen pitchers to the starting rotation before and saw mixed results.

“He will let us know,” Maddux said of Detwiler. “We’ve been successful with it and unsuccessful with it. I think it all comes down to the person and what their motivation is and what their drive is. If they’re blessed with that good health to go out there and log the innings or if they're a better fit to throw less innings and more games.”

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The two earthquakes in the Dallas area Tuesday near the site of old Texas Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys used to play, shook up Irving, Texas.

Cowboys officials reported no major problems, however, Texas Rangers left-handed starter Derek Holland was shook up a little by the quakes.

"This earthquake crap needs to stop," Holland said on Twitter late Tuesday afternoon. "I can't take a damn shower without house shaking. And yes I was naked and fell in shower hahaha #imfine"

The two earthquakes, the latest occurring around 6:52 p.m. CT was a 3.6-magnitude temblor, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Holland has encountered his share of freak physical occurrences in the past. His dog, Wrigley, tripped him up on the stairs in his home last year, causing a knee injury that forced him to undergo surgery and miss the first four months of the 2014 season.

This time no injuries were reported, and Holland continued with his day without incident.

Rangers place bid for Korean pitcher

November, 24, 2014
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According to a source, the Texas Rangers have placed a bid for Korean left-handed starter Yang Hyeon-Jong.

MK Sports reported the Rangers have won the bidding at $1.5 million and former big-leaguer CJ Nitkowski, who played for the Rangers from 2002-03, tweeted the Rangers beat out the Minnesota Twins for Hyeon-Jong's rights.

A Rangers official said the team won't know if they won the bidding for Hyeon-Jong until this week.

While pitching for the Kia Tigers, Hyeon-Jong went 62-42 with a 4.33 ERA in his career. He's never pitched more than 170 innings in eight seasons. He's considered more of a middle-of-the rotation-type starter, something the Rangers are looking for given they have Yu Darvish and Derek Holland at the top.

GM Jon Daniels said pitching is his No. 1 priority this offseason and there was a belief the Rangers wouldn't go into the international market that much.

PHOENIX – Yu Darvish is the ace to the Texas Rangers pitching staff. He’s a man who has proven he can make at least 30 starts per season.

In his first season with the Rangers, he took North Texas by storm with 29 starts, then 32 the following season pitching in 209.2 innings.

Last season, he missed Opening Day with neck issues and then finished the season with inflammation in his right elbow. He pitched 144.1 innings, and you want more from your starter.

Darvish has spent time on the disabled list every season of his career with the Rangers and to say he’s a durable pitcher is debatable just based on his time on the DL.

Darvish is an excellent pitcher, you could say one of the Top 10 in the business.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he's not worried about Darvish's durability.

“He’s on a pretty good maintenance program as far as the neck is concerned,” Daniels said. “He takes as good of care of himself as anybody. That part is not a concern.”

There were two veteran pitchers, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis, who were praised for battling back from serious ailments. Holland rebounded from microfracture surgery and was praised for not giving up on the season. Lewis was praised for returning from elbow and hip surgeries. This was a man who pitched with a replacement hip and tied Darvish in wins at 10.

The Rangers made the right decision in shutting Darvish down in a bad season because what’s the point of pitching through pain when it could lead to a more serious injury.

If the Rangers contend, the pitching staff needs a healthy Darvish. So when Darvish comes to the States next Thursday for a checkup and a chat with the new manager, Jeff Banister, the expectations given to him are he not only needs to pitch like an ace, which he’s done, but stay injury-free for 2015.
PHOENIX -- I think we all know what happened to the Texas Rangers in 2014. A 95-loss season, injuries to many players, the manager resigns and the Kansas City Royals, yeah, the Royals were playing in the World Series.

Nothing against the Royals, a club that earned an AL wild-card berth with 89 victories while barely hitting home runs out of the park, but the Rangers need to be better in 2015.

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If you don’t believe in some of the injured players’ returns, Prince Fielder (neck surgery), Shin-Soo Choo (elbow and ankle surgery) among others, then you need to listen to GM Jon Daniels.

He didn’t speak to reporters Tuesday in a bravado associated with a boxing promoter, yet he did note 2015 will not resemble 2014.

“It’s a very competitive division,” Daniels said during the GM Meetings. “I think we’ll be a lot better this year.”

Was 2014 a fluke?

“Yeah,” he said. “It was an aberration more than a fluke. When you look back in 10 years, you will not see 2014 as the start of the norm for us.”

Daniels can’t afford it to be the norm.

(Read full post)

Rangers open for a Colby Lewis return

November, 10, 2014
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PHOENIX -- A few weeks ago, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said right-handed starter Colby Lewis would test the free-agent market. Daniels did caution at the time that it didn't mean the end of the line for the veteran, who pitched in 170 innings after recovering from elbow and hip surgeries in 2014.

Monday, Daniels said he spoke with Lewis last week about a possible return and continues communication with agent Alan Nero.

"I think both sides wanted it to work out," Daniels said.

The issue with the Rangers and Lewis is money and length of contract. He was offered a minor league contract last season, and after making the team earned $2 million.

Will Lewis get a two- or three-year deal from the Rangers?

At 35, giving him more than two-year deal given his health history is risky. However, Lewis proved he's fully recovered from hip surgery, and as the 2014 season progressed he got stronger.

In the final two months of the season, Lewis pitched past the sixth inning six times and threw two complete games. Lewis did go 1-4 in his final five starts of the season, but that could be attributed to the young lineup trying to produce runs for him more than anything else.

At the top of the rotation is Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, and Daniels said pitching is the No. 1 priority this offseason. Retaining Lewis, who has won 54 games in seven big league seasons for the Rangers, would mark some stability toward the back end of the rotation.

"It's the first time he's been healthy and able to test the market," Daniels said. "I think it's an opportunity he should take advantage of. I think he understands where we're at and what we want to do and I think we're both mindful of the calendar as well. We understand there are other suitors for both and we're being respectful of each other and communicated so nobody is surprised. But if I had to guess [if] it would get done, at the end of the day: you never know."

Yu Darvish to visit Rangers Nov. 20

November, 10, 2014
11/10/14
6:20
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PHOENIX – Rangers GM Jon Daniels said staff ace Yu Darvish is expected to return to the States from Japan Nov. 20 to get an MRI on his right elbow.

Darvish missed the last month and a half of the season after being placed on the disabled list with mild inflammation.

Daniels, attending the GM meetings which start Tuesday, said the reports he’s getting from Japan on Darvish are good, but the pitcher will undergo an MRI just before Thanksgiving, and if things are clean he will begin a throwing program in December.

“Very good,” Daniels said. “He’s doing his normal offseason program. At this point, he typically doesn’t start throwing until December anyways, so he’s doing his normal conditioning, throwing, lifting. Get the MRI at the end of the month here, right before Thanksgiving, and he would go back [to Japan].”

Darvish started the 2014 season on the DL with neck stiffness and finished it with elbow issues. In between, Darvish won 10 games, tied with Colby Lewis for the team lead. In 17 first-half starts, Darvish’s opponents hit .233/.298/.356. But in five second-half starts, opponents hit .271/.328/.441.

The Rangers have confidence Darvish will return healthy to become the ace of a staff in need of more pitchers behind him and left-hander Derek Holland.

Rangers start GM Meetings looking to improve

November, 10, 2014
11/10/14
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PHOENIX -- After a season in which the Texas Rangers lost 95 games and the manager who took them to consecutive World Series appearances resigned, this offseason will not be a time to relax.

Yes, Aaron Rodgers told Green Bay Packers fans to relax on Twitter, which was followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James’ own comments of calming down the fan base after some recent struggles.

Jon Daniels
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezWhat will Jon Daniels' next move be as the Rangers try to improve this offseason?
Rangers GM Jon Daniels comes to the two-day GM Meetings here looking to make moves. It’s not time to panic, but it is time to do something.

The Rangers’ payroll will remain near the $133.5 million it was in 2014 and Daniels isn’t trying to open the checkbook for a high-priced free agent such as Jon Lester.

Daniels instead will seek trades while being mindful of the riches in the Rangers' Double-A system, where most of the young talent resides.

The Rangers have made a passing interest in oft-injured right-handed starter Josh Johnson. There was a rumor late last week that the Dodgers were trying to push Carl Crawford on the Rangers in exchange for Elvis Andrus.

A source said the Rangers were not interested in Crawford.

Finding a trade partner isn’t the hardest thing about the job for Daniels and his staff. It’s making sure the deal works.

(Read full post)

A closer look at the 40-man roster

November, 4, 2014
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The Rangers employed a major league record 64 players and 40 pitchers in the 2014 season. Texas also used 23 rookies and had 17 make their big league debuts.

Injuries and poor play were some of the major reasons why the Rangers needed more players than normal. In a game Sept. 24, the Rangers had seven rookies in the lineup.

Monday, the Rangers set their 40-man roster, but it will continue to change this offseason when the Rangers protect players from the Rule 5 draft, such as pitcher Luke Jackson and catcher Jorge Alfaro, considered top prospects. The club will also have to make room when it signs free agents.

We look at the 40-man roster as it stands today. First up, the pitchers. We'll examine the position players later today.

Pitchers:

RHP Lisalverto Bonilla: He was the first Rangers pitcher to win his first three starts of his career and while opponents hit just .186 against him, the club needs to decide if he's better served as a starter or reliever.

LHP Alex Claudio: Moved from Double-A to Triple-A and after his big league debut, he didn't allow a run in his first six appearances. Expect him to open 2015 in Triple-A unless he impresses in spring training.

RHP Yu Darvish: The ace missed the last seven weeks of the season with elbow inflammation. Finished with a 10-7 record and 182 strikeouts but needs to have an injury-free season. He opened the year on the DL and finished there.

RHP Jon Edwards: The Keller, Texas native, gave up three runs in his first nine appearances. He could be a good middle reliever but like Claudio, has to win a job in spring training.

RHP Neftali Feliz: Regained the closer's job after the team traded Joakim Soria and picked up 13 saves. Feliz's command was good, but his velocity was up and down. Not sure if new manager Jeff Banister wants Feliz as the closer or setup man.

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Colby Lewis to test free-agency waters

October, 31, 2014
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While it might not mark the end of his time with the Texas Rangers, right-handed starter Colby Lewis failed to reach an agreement with the club for a new contract and will test the free-agent market.

Lewis battled back from elbow and hip surgeries last season to tie for the team lead with 10 wins. He finished with a 5.18 ERA in 29 starts.

"We've had dialogue there," GM Jon Daniels said in a conference call Friday. "Not able to reach an agreement. It doesn't mean we will (or won't) at some point down the line, but he's going to test the market, and I think you know I have a ton of respect for Colby as a player and as a person. The door is open and if it works for both of us at a later point. But he's going to test the market right now."

Lewis expressed to Daniels during the last road trip of the season that he wanted to return, but the two sides just couldn't finalize a new deal. Lewis signed a one-year, $2 million minor league deal last season.

Based on what Lewis did, there might be an expectation he wanted a two-or-three year contract. But given his age (35) and the assortment of injuries he's recovered from, another one-year deal might have been offered.

The Rangers are still confident in ace Yu Darvish and No. 2 man Derek Holland to lead the rotation. But Daniels has said his No. 1 priority is pitching this offseason and keeping Lewis as a back-of-the-rotation type starter seemed a given considering the mutual respect on both sides.

As it stands now, Lewis isn't part of the plan, though it could change.
Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux's contract ends Friday and his status beyond that is uncertain.

Maddux has termed his conversations with new manager Jeff Banister as positive and is hopeful for a return.

"Jeff and I have had positive talks," Maddux said briefly.

The Rangers need Maddux because of the issues with the pitching staff. You have to ignore the 4.49 team ERA from 2014. Four pitchers were on the 60-day disabled list and the team lost Derek Holland for the first four months of the year. Yu Darvish was also out for nearly the last two months due to health issues.

This pitching staff was a mess.

Martin Perez, a promising starter, won't be around until next summer as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Matt Harrison, a workhorse starter, won't start throwing again until the start of 2015. GM Jon Daniels will most likely sign a free-agent starter or two this winter.

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Position Breakdown: Starting pitching

October, 22, 2014
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Our series on breaking down the Texas Rangers position by position continues with a look at starting pitching.

Starters: Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Nick Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers and Nick Tepesch.

Most productive pitcher: Darvish

Least productive pitcher: Robbie Ross

Stat of note: Wins above average for starters was minus-6.1

Outlook: Injuries hampered the Rangers' entire 2014 season. The club’s rotation compiled a 4.75 ERA, third-highest in baseball and the highest since 2008 (5.51). The Rangers used 15 different starters, tied with Colorado for the major league lead and tied for fourth-most in club history. Darvish, Harrison, Holland, Mikolas, Perez and Scheppers were all lost to injuries of some sort. It led to some younger pitchers, such as Martinez and Tepesch, and making up the bulk of the rotation for roughly four of the six months of the season. Darvish (1.261 WHIP) was lost for nearly two months with inflammation in his elbow and Holland was limited to just five starts after his recovery from knee surgery. The most consistent starter was Colby Lewis (10-14 in 29 starts), and he’s a free agent. The club is in talks to bring Lewis back for 2015 and he’ll be a stabilizing force on the back end, unless the club fails to obtain a No. 3 starter to help Darvish and Holland. There are some promising pitchers (Perez for one) who won’t be available until later in 2015, and Harrison’s career is in doubt as he tries to recover from back surgery. Ross was in the rotation but his struggles will push him back to the bullpen. Is Lisalverto Bonilla a possible starter? Maybe, especially after becoming the first Texas pitcher to win his first three starts. GM Jon Daniels said finding starting pitching is a priority in the offseason, and if that’s the case, some young pitchers might not be around.
We conclude our Burning Questions series for the Texas Rangers by looking at the starting rotation.

Now that we know who the manager is, Jeff Banister, we can no longer speculate. Well maybe we can still do that, in terms of what the team will do.

Colby Lewis
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillWill the Rangers sign free-agent pitcher Colby Lewis to a new deal?
GM Jon Daniels said the club is making starting pitching its No. 1 priority, but the payroll -- $133.5 million last season -- will stay in the same range.

Will the Rangers be able to go after top-tier free-agent pitchers Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields? Probably not unless something changes with the ownership's stance on adding a high-priced free agent.

The Rangers can look at Justin Masterson, who after his trade to St. Louis compiled a 7.04 ERA in nine games/six starts. Masterson won 14 games in Cleveland in 2013.

Brandon McCarthy, after a 3-10 start in Arizona, was traded to the New York Yankees and he excelled with a 2.89 ERA and a 7-5 mark.

Those two seems fair to explore from a financial standpoint.

Right-handed starter Colby Lewis (10-14 in 2013) is a free agent. When the season ended, Daniels said he had preliminary talks with Lewis’ agent about a new contract.

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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182