Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 24, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.
Today, let's take a look at what could be the thorniest, most pressing question the Texas Rangers brass must make answer this winter, and sooner rather than later.
The Rangers invested in Derek Holland after he was one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half of 2011, and they gave him money like a top part of the rotation guy with big club options in 2017 and 2018. So what the Rangers need to figure out is, what is Holland? Is he a guy that can be a solid No. 2 or possibly a really good No. 3? Or is a guy that's destined to be a No. 4 or No. 5 starter?
The conventional thought among baseball people is that you know who a pitcher is after 90 starts in the bigs, and guess what? Holland has 90 starts in his big-league career over four seasons with a big ol' mixed bag of results.
Aside from that memorable stretch in 2011 when he could do no wrong, Holland has been awfully inconsistent and in those 90 starts is now 39-29 with a 4.71 ERA, 468 Ks and 190 walks. In other words, his numbers suggest he isn't a top-3 starter in a contending rotation.
The Rangers need to quickly figure out where they see Holland. They can either trade him, which is a possibility, or stick with him. If they see him as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter, they need to go get a frontline starter in free agency or via trade, so someone like Zack Greinke. If they see him as a top-3 guy, they need to go out and get a No. 4-type pitcher to fill out their rotation and ride with Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison as the top two guys in the rotation.
What do you see in Holland?