Even though the Giants have undergone a front office rehaul, the rotation will remain mostly the same. Per Ken Rosenthal, the Giants have re-signed Derek Holland on a one-year deal with a club option. Holland’s contract is also driven with some light incentives.
Holland gets $6.5M base in 2019, $6.5M option or $500,000 buyout for ‘20. Base in ‘20 increases to $7M for 24 starts in 2019, $7.5M for 28 starts, $8.5M for 32 starts. https://t.co/tEhelHJKFE— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 14, 2019
Holland’s $7 million puts the Giants payroll around $163 million before pre-arbitration contracts are factored in. This is probably going to be the biggest signing of the offseason for the Giants. It’s nice to see the Giants being a little more responsible with their money, but man is it boring.
Sure, it will be nice to have someone carrying out a jug of water to splish splash with his friends when the Giants walk-off, but that contribution to the roster seems a little redundant. The Giants already have Alen Hanson who will dump Sports Drink on himself.
For actual baseball purposes, the move makes a bit of sense. Holland was rewarded for a relatively resurgent 2018 campaign in which the lefty posted a career-high strikeout percentage and had his lowest FIP in a full season since 2013. He also led the Giants in innings pitched. That feels a bit like Gorkys Hernández almost leading the team in homers, but that’s more of an indictment of the rest of the roster rather than Holland.
For a while, it felt like the Giants weren’t going to be able to bring back Holland because other teams would outbid them. Last month, there was some scuttlebutt about Holland returning to the Texas Rangers. MLB Trade Rumors had predicted that Holland would secure a two-year deal which is probably more than what Farhan Zaidi wanted to give to a pitcher with one good season in the last five. The club option for 2020 gives the Giants a way out if he pitches like 2017 Holland again.
What Zaidi probably liked about Holland is that he’s been willing to swing between the rotation and the bullpen. Considering the Giants will probably be making some subtractions from their bullpen before Opening Day and the health of their starters is questionable, getting someone who is able and willing to switch between the two seems wise.
However, that makes his start-based incentives for 2020 seem a bit shady. If Holland’s about to hit his incentives, they could move him to the bullpen to pinch some pennies in a similar way to how Kenta Maeda’s contract is handled in LA.
Holland’s return means that the 40-man roster is full, leaving Pablo Sandoval as the emergency backup catcher.
Holland isn’t the most exciting move the Giants could have made, but it’s the most… familiar? That counts for something, right?