Derek Holland elects not to opt out of contract with Red Sox, accepts assignment to Triple-A Worcester

After being informed on Saturday that he would not be making the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster, Derek Holland has opted to remain with the organization and report to Triple-A Worcester. Holland’s decision was first reported by NESN’s Will Middlebrooks and was confirmed by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Holland, 35, originally signed a minor-league contract with the Sox that included an invite to major-league spring training on March 21. The veteran left-hander appeared in just one Grapefruit League game for Boston but impressed in that outing, striking out a pair over two scoreless innings of relief against the Twins this past Thursday.

The Red Sox had until Saturday to let Holland know if he would be making their Opening Day roster or not since the southpaw had the ability to opt out of his contract and become a free agent if he were not to make the team.

Following a 7-2 loss to the Pirates at JetBlue Park, Sox manager Alex Cora revealed that Holland would not be making the team, though he was hopeful the Ohio native would accept an assignment with the WooSox.

“We talked with Derek,” Cora said. “We were honest with him. He’s not going to make the team. So we’ll see where he’s at during the weekend. Obviously a lefty. Lefties with a heartbeat, they always have a chance. But no, no. Great impression. Good stuff yesterday. It’s just a matter of where we’re at roster-wise. Being selfish, hopefully he’s there Tuesday in Jacksonville, pitching for Worcester.”

As it turns out, Holland did what Cora hoped he would do and took to Twitter to explain why.

“Took the assignment because I’ve only been able to showcase two innings. All my other games [have] been [on the] backfield and it’s a great organization to be apart of,” Holland tweeted. “So I want to stay and see where this road takes me. Going to be a lot of fun with these guys.”

A former 25th-round draft pick taken out Wallace State Community College by the Rangers in 2006, Holland broke in with Texas in 2009 and spent the first eight years of his big-league career there.

Since his tenure with the Rangers ended in 2016, Holland has bounced around a bit, spending the 2017 season with the White Sox, the 2018 season with the Giants, the 2019 season between the Giants and Cubs, and the 2020 season with the Pirates.

In 2021, Holland appeared in 39 games — one of which was a start — for the Tigers. The 6-foot-2, 223 pound hurler posted a 5.07 ERA and 3.96 FIP to go along with 51 strikeouts to 20 walks over 49 2/3 innings of work with Detroit.

Although he will not be joining the Red Sox in the Bronx for the start of their season on Thursday, Holland should still provide the club with some experienced bullpen depth at the Triple-A level. It would not be surprising to see him up in Boston at some point in 2022, though he would need to be added to the 40-man roster in order for that to happen.

(Picture of Derek Holland: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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