If he keeps pitching the way he did on Tuesday night, San Francisco Giants starter Derek Holland could be a hot commodity on the trade market later this summer.
Brought in on a one-year, $1.75 million deal in free agency, Holland posted a 3.57 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 171.1 innings for a career-high 8.9 K/9.
That was enough for the Giants to bring him back on another one-year pact, this time worth $6.5 million with a $7 million team option for 2020.
Last night, he showed why that could be money well spent, allowing one run in seven strong innings against the San Diego Padres. It was a promising turnaround after he had gotten off to a bit of a shaky start to the season while struggling to pitch deep into games.
“I joked around with [Madison Bumgarner] and said, ‘I made it past five innings,’”Holland told reporters (via Maria Guardado of MLB.com). “I also didn’t throw 100 pitches in five innings. It was good.”
After allowing five earned runs in nine total innings over his first two starts—both of which came on the road—he looked happy to be home at the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park. Tuesday night’s strong showing might be just what he needs to get into the swing of things in 2019.
In his seven innings of work, Holland scattered five hits and two walks, while striking out nine. His only real mistake was a solo home run surrendered to Padres slugger Hunter Renfroe. Other than that, he was in control on the mound.
Given the team’s struggles offensively and the lackluster 4-8 start, there’s reason to believe that outcomes like last night’s convincing 7-2 victory will be few and far between in 2019.
As such, there’s a good chance the Giants will be sellers at the trade deadline when they might look to trade some of their veteran talent.
Holland will be a valuable trade chip if he keeps delivering performances like the one last night. There’s always a market for reliable veteran starters, and his team-friendly salary and potential control beyond the 2019 season further adds to his value.
It’s unlikely the Giants will get a ton in exchange for Holland.
Still, flipping the 32-year-old lefty for even a modest return could help the team’s long-term outlook.
The best-case scenario would be that Holland keeps pitching great and the Giants play their way into contention. All signs point to this being a grind of a year, though. Trading him will likely be on the table come July.
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If that’s the case, more starts like last night will go a long way toward maximizing the Giants return.