Chicago Cubs: Cubs acquire Derek Holland to add lefty depth

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs take a low-risk, maybe high-reward waiver on a veteran lefty to help balance out the bullpen.

A small move was made today as the Chicago Cubs acquired veteran lefty Derek Holland from the Giants in exchange for cash consideration. Holland (32) has played most of his career with the Rangers while having stints with the White Sox and Giants. While he has been primarily a starter in his career, he has done some relief work this season.

While it was kind of a surprise that the Cubs got Holland, his raw abilities fit the bill of what they need which is more lefty depth in the pen. He can also start if needed. His effectiveness is a whole other question as to the numbers this season are not great, but there are still ways he can be used. Overall he has a 5.90 ERA, 6.08 FIP, 1.5 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings.

While his role could be more defined, Holland is pretty much replacing Mike Montgomery. They both can start and relieve and are both lefties, but the splits show why Holland could end up doing things Montgomery could not this year.

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The value in Derek Holland

The overall numbers are not good, but there is one area he has looked outstanding in, and that is facing lefty-hitters. On the season lefties are hitting .182/.276/.195 with a .471 OPS and no homers.

He only has one XBH against him from a lefty all season. Righties have hit 17 homers against him with a 1.022 OPS and .386 OBP. He is set up perfectly to be a LOOGY.

Some concerns also may arise with his 4.6 BB/9 this season which would be the second-highest in that category of his career had the season ended today.

In his prime years in Texas, his command was much better, but in recent years it has slipped. Good news is that his K/9 is at 9.3 with his season average being 7.5 so he can get some swings-and-misses.

There may be a point where they need to him to make a start, which for him should not be a problem. He has started in 221 of his 275 career appearances and has made 20+ starts in seven of his 11 big league seasons. It is a low-risk, high-reward move that can pay off nicely if he is used correctly. His primary role should be facing lefties with an occasional start if needed.

This is not the end

This move is certainly not overly exciting, but this is not going to be their primary move by any means. Most of what the Cubs will do in terms of bigger more significant moves will likely occur around deadline day. All contending teams make small moves like these.

Next. Best Lefty Relievers in Chicago Cubs History. dark

Epstein has had a good track record of finding struggling veteran relievers and plugging them in the past several years. Hopefully, this can be the case with Holland. It could also end up not working at all, and another direction will be sought out.

If anything, Holland will bring some killer impersonations to the club. Maybe he can charm the audience while talking to Len & JD.