Rangers let Holland walk, make offer to Desmond

Texas doesn't pick up lefty's option; center fielder has a week to accept $17.2M deal

Rangers let Holland walk, make offer to Desmond

ARLINGTON -- Pitcher Derek Holland, who helped the Rangers go to two World Series but has been plagued by injuries the past three seasons, is a free agent.

The Rangers made it official on Monday afternoon by announcing they were not picking up Holland's option for 2017. They also announced they are making a $17.2 million qualifying offer to free-agent outfielder Ian Desmond.

Texas enters the offseason looking for starting pitching, but elected not to bring back Holland at $11 million. Instead the club paid a $1.5 million buyout. The Rangers also had a 2018 option on the lefty at $11.5 million.

"Knowing I am not going to wear the Rangers uniform is the hardest part," Holland said. "This is the only place I have ever been. I had great teammates and they helped get me to where I am. They have been there through the good times and the bad. It's a class organization, it was a great experience being with these guys. At the end of the day, I was proud to put on that uniform and play in front of these fans."

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the decision came down to Holland's recent run of injuries.

"I think the injuries just kind of derailed him," Daniels said. "It's three years in a row, that's the biggest thing. If he was healthy and throwing innings, it would have been a much different decision. That's what it was. Certainly open to taking chances on guys, and we have taken chances with some guys with injury history. We just weren't comfortable with that dollar figure."

Holland could always re-sign with the Rangers, and he has not ruled it out.

"There's a chance," Holland said. "They still want to talk to me. I don't know what's going to happen. This is my first time in free agency. It's a different animal. I'll see what lies ahead, see what presents itself and what's out there."

Holland told the Rangers that he would likely get back to them before signing with another club.

"We didn't ask for that," Daniels said. "That's great. I think the dialogue will be open. He doesn't have to do that, obviously. We appreciate that, and we'll stay in touch."

The two option years came at the end of the five-year, $28.5 million contract extension Holland signed during the 2012 Spring Training. The extension came after his best season with the Rangers.

Holland was 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 32 starts in 2011, as the Rangers went to the World Series for the second straight season. Holland started Game 4 of the Series and pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory over the Cardinals. That outing ranks as one of the best pitching performances in Rangers history.

Holland was solid in 2012-13, but missed significant time in each of the past three seasons because of injuries. In 2011-13, Holland was a combined 38-21 with a 3.98 ERA in 92 starts and two relief appearances. Over the past three seasons, he was a combined 13-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 35 starts and three relief appearances.

That led to the Rangers' decision not to pick up his option.

"I don't feel I should be disappointed," Holland said. "I did it to myself. I didn't perform the way I wanted to perform. I had a few injuries, and that made it much harder to be here."

The Rangers will find out in a week if Desmond accepts or rejects their offer. The deadline is 4 p.m. CT next Monday. If a player rejects the offer, he is free to sign with any club, including his former team. If he signs elsewhere, his former team receives the highest unprotected Draft pick from the player's new club.

Rangers to decide on free agents

Desmond rejected a qualifying offer from the Nationals last year, and the Rangers forfeited the 29th overall pick in the 2016 Draft when they signed him as a free agent in Spring Training.

The Rangers have interest in re-signing either Desmond or Carlos Gomez to play center field next season. According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Gomez is expecting to receive a multi-year contract from some team for as much as five years in length.

Rangers beat

• The Rangers did not make qualifying offers to free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland and pitcher Colby Lewis. That means they will not receive Draft pick compensation if they sign with another team.

• The Rangers have reinstated first baseman Prince Fielder from the 60-day disabled list and added him to their 40-man roster. Fielder suffered a career-ending neck injury last season, but he is still signed through 2020. He will eventually go back on the 60-day DL before the start of next season.

• Right-handed pitcher Adrian Sampson has also been reinstated from the 60-day DL. He was claimed off waivers from the Mariners last week and is recovering from flexor tendon surgery.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.