If you were surprised to see Derek Holland and the White Sox part ways on Tuesday, you weren’t alone.
But the reason comes down to one word: rebuild.
It was somewhat odd to see a veteran pitcher, who considering his pending free agency was in the process of pitching for a job next season, leave a team in early September. But Holland was recently moved to the bullpen after continuously failing to produce the kinds of results he was hoping for as a starter. He was then informed that his usage would decrease as the rebuilding White Sox want to get late-season looks at some of their younger arms.
“It was a difficult thing to do,” manager Rick Renteria explained Tuesday. “One of the things we discussed was how he impacted us as a good teammate. A gentleman, a nice man to have around, knew the game, impacted the other guys well. But it got to the point where he wasn’t going to get the opportunities.
“You want them to have success, to be able who they have always been. It had been a struggle the last few outings. We hoped we could get some usage in the bullpen, basically mix it in, it just wasn’t showing what we needed. With young men coming in who will be slotted into those roles. We wish him well.”
Holland was one of a couple veteran pitchers who didn’t pan out as sign-and-flip guys for the White Sox. In a season where Rick Hahn was able to deal away David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Miguel Gonzalez, Holland and fellow vet Mike Pelfrey weren’t able to produce in a way that would have made them attractive trade chips.
Holland had a bulging 6.20 ERA and 14 losses on the season. After a solid start to the campaign, he was abysmal from the beginning of June on, turning in a 9.32 ERA over his final 19 appearances, 16 of which were starts.
But upon his release, the White Sox did praise Holland, known around baseball for his big personality, as a quality teammate.
“Derek was a great teammate,” fellow starter James Shields said. “All of the guys liked him around here. He went out there every five days and pitched with his heart. The guy cared about baseball and is a tremendous human being. It’s always tough to lose a guy like that.”