I’ve never been known to have the most popular opinion when it comes to Derek Holland. In fact, there are some who think I’m stupid for thinking he’s one of the more inconsistent pitchers the Texas Rangers have. But I’m also not one to back down from the opinion just because people don’t agree with me. They have their opinion and I have mine. My opinion isn’t the be-all, end-all, it’s just that, an opinion.
That being said, there have been rumors the Rangers are quietly scouting not only Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke but also Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels. Both will be free agents at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
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Right now, the Rangers have a rotation that can keep them on top of the AL West through the remainder of the season, especially with Colby Lewis due to come off the disabled list in a little more than a week. When he returns, he will take his rightful place at the top of the rotation, and will be joined by Matt Harrison, one of the hottest pitchers in the big leagues right now, Yu Darvish and Roy Oswalt. The only thing left to determine is who takes the fifth spot in the rotation?
After his first outing, Martin Perez looks pretty solid, but we saw young Justin Grimm look solid after his first start only to get lit up like a Christmas tree by the Detroit Tigers in his second start.
So, assuming Texas is serious about either Greinke or Hamels, who does that leave as the odd man out in the rotation?
This is where my, though unpopular, opinion comes in. I’ve said it in the past, and I’ll say it again this season.
It’s time to trade Derek Holland.
Sure he’s still a young pitcher, and sure there are some who believe he’ll eventually figure it out and become an ace of someone’s rotation. I just don’t think he’ll figure it out here.
Holland is the kind of pitcher I see having success at a place like PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, one of the biggest pitcher’s parks in baseball. A guy who can get away with hanging a few pitches here and there because PETCO Park has been called, “a ballpark where fly balls go to die.” If I hadn’t seen it in person, I wouldn’t believe that saying but it actually is kind of true.
In fact, the San Diego Padres would be the perfect place to deal Holland because they have two pieces the Rangers could really use.
This morning, I was listening to 1310 AM The Ticket here in Dallas/Ft. Worth, and they were talking to Evan Grant, who covers the Rangers for the Dallas Morning News, and he mentioned the team possibly looking at acquiring another left-handed reliever for the bullpen.
The one name that brings to mind is a guy by the name of Joe Thatcher. In 65 games for the Padres during the 2010 season, Thatcher finished the season with a 1.29 ERA and a .185 batting-average against.
He would appear in only 18 games last season and, so far this season, has a 3.05 ERA and a .231 batting-average against through 31 games (20.2 IP). He won’t replace Robbie Ross in the seventh inning, but he’s a guy who can fill in when Ross needs a day off. Say what you want about his numbers being inflated by PETCO Park, Mike Adams also came from San Diego and he has kept a sub-3.00 ERA through the last season and a half with the Rangers.
With Thatcher added, the Padres have another piece who could fit into the Rangers depth chart quite well—Carlos Quentin.
I know Texas has both David Murphy and Craig Gentry on the depth chart at the moment, but Quentin is a guy who could complement David Murphy. Whichever guy you don’t start in left field you can put in the DH role if for no other reason than to keep their bat in the lineup.
The Rangers need to strengthen their depth offensively, and acquiring Quentin would be a great way to do that.
Sure, the Padres won’t take only Holland and gladly send Thatcher and Quentin to Texas, the Padres would want another prospect or two in order to make the deal worthwhile. It won’t be a Mike Olt-type prospect but perhaps a guy like Tanner Scheppers who could definitely flourish in San Diego.
Holland has a great sense of humor and might have a lot of potential, but I continue to wonder how long the Rangers are willing to let things play out. Do they want to win the World Series now and build a team that can do that, or are they willing to stand pat just to keep around a guy who may never pan out in the American League?
That is going to be a big question the Rangers are going to have to ask themselves. My opinion might not be popular, and you may think I have no idea what I’m talking about, and that’s fine. Harrison has become the better of the two left-handers, and I’m willing to bet the Rangers could deal Holland and be just fine in the long run.
After two straight appearances in the World Series, general manager Jon Daniels and the rest of the Rangers’ front office know that another trip and another loss is not acceptable.
For the first time in Texas Rangers history, fans expect a championship. They expect this team to finally bring home the World Series trophy to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. They were so ready to celebrate last year, and the pain of that still resonates around the ballpark and around the fan base.
This season, however, will be a completely different story. The time to win is here, and this organization will do what it needs to do to make sure this town gets to celebrate something other than that mediocre team just a few blocks from the ballpark.
Trading Derek Holland may not be popular, but it might be necessary.