NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In Oct. 2011, left-hander Derek Holland was one of the Texas Rangers’ darlings, nearly pitching a shutout in Game 4 of the 2011 World Series.
Last March, Holland agreed to a five-year, $28.5 million contract extension that includes club options for 2017 and ’18.
But as the winter meetings begin, Holland suddenly could become available in a trade, according to major-league sources.
Such a move could happen only if the Rangers acquired another starting pitcher first, sources say, and is only one of multiple scenarios that the team has in play.
The Rangers are one of the teams talking to free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke. They also are trying to re-sign their own free agents, outfielder Josh Hamilton and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli.
The team’s current starters are righties Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando and lefties Holland, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez — and Ogando is something of an unknown after making 57 of his 58 appearances in relief last season. Righty Colby Lewis looms as another option later in the season; he could return from elbow surgery after the All-Star break.
Trading Holland, then, would make sense only if the Rangers added another starter. For example: If the team signed Greinke, it possibly could offer Holland and third-base prospect Mike Olt to Arizona for right fielder Justin Upton, who would help replace any offense lost with the defections of Hamilton and/or Napoli.
Holland, 26, went 12-7 with a 4.67 ERA last season, regressing after a 16-win, sub-4.00 ERA season in ’11. He is guaranteed $26 million over the next four years, with club options of $11 million and $11.5 million for ’17 and ’18.
—Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi