MLB News and Analysis: What Derek Holland’s Injury Means for the Texas Rangers

Click here to read RotoBaller's MLB News and Analysis as Bret Thurman looks at what Derek Holland’s injury means for the Texas Rangers pitching staff for the 2014 MLB season.

Bret Thurman - RotoBaller

The Snap Heard Round the World: What Derek Holland’s Injury Means

Have you ever spent $3,000 upgrading your car’s transmission only to have the radiator overheat the very next month? Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels may have had a similar feeling as he announced that the Rangers’ number two starter, lefthander Derek Holland, may be out until the All-Star break following surgery on his left knee.

In what he called a “freak accident,” Holland claimed he fell down the stairs while playing with his dog; team physician Dr. Keith Meister repaired damaged cartilage behind Holland’s left kneecap. The good news is that there was no ligament damage. The bad news is that there is really no timetable for Holland’s return. The Rangers are apparently taking Holland’s story at face value, although Holland does play amateur hockey.


The recovery

Holland says he plans to be off crutches in about six weeks and start working out again. The best-case scenario is that Holland only misses a few starts and is quickly back in the rotation. The realistic scenario is that the doctors are cautious and that Holland comes back in the early part of the summer – mid or late June. The worst case scenario is that Holland reinjures the knee, which is very common when recovering from a torn meniscus, and then the team is really in trouble.


Replacement options

As soon as Holland’s knee crunched on the stairs, you could almost hear the cries of “ta-na-KA, ta-na-KA” echoing all across North Texas. But most people agree that the Seattle Mariners are the odds-on favorites to sign Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, and since the Rangers’ payroll has already doubled in the past two years, Tanaka is not really much of an option.

Instead, Daniels says that Holland’s injury is an “opportunity for some other guys to seize that chance.” Some of those other guys include:

  • Michael Kirkman: Kirkman is a serviceable lefty who has sadly struggled with lymphoma; he is cancer-free and back with the team as of September 2013.
  • Robbie Ross: Ross has heretofore been more of a lefthanded specialist but the Rangers may give him more of a role this year.
  • Bruce Chen: Chen is a journeyman lefthanded swingman who spent the last five years with the Kansas City Royals; the onetime Ranger is currently a free agent.

Some other names being tossed about include non-roster invitee and former starter Colby Lewis, octogenarian Jose Contreras and current reclamation project Tanner Scheppers.


The bottom line

Holland is coming off a career year in which he pitched over 200 innings and had an ERA just north of 3.2, so the loss hurts. But assuming that he is back by mid-June, the loss should not be fatal to the team as their offense will carry them to many Ws on their own. Those fantasy owners who were counting on another big year for Holland, however, may want to go back to the drawing board.


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