BY: Richard W. Humphrey

Tuesday morning, the Rangers announced that they have reached agreement on a five year $28.5 million contract with Derek Holland. There are unspecified incentives, and the team has options for two additional years, which if exercised would keep Holland in the fold through the 2018 season and bring the total contract value to $49.5 million. The breakdown of Holland’s annual salary is: $1,000,000 in 2012, $3,200,000 in 2013, $5,400,000 in 2014, $7,400,000 in 2015 and $10 million in 2016. The option years amounts are $11 million with a $1.5 million buyout in 2017 and $11.5 million with a $1.0 million buyout in 2018.

Holland would have been eligible for arbitration after this season, so this new contract buys out all three arbitration years, and his first three years of free agency if the club options are exercised.

Holland was the Rangers’ best pitcher over the final months of 2011. He was 10-1, 2.77 in his last 15 regular season starts, and was 2-0, 3.38 in six post season appearances (four starts), including his masterfully pitched win over St. Louis in game four of the World Series. He allowed just two hits over 8.1 innings en rout to a 4-0 win over the Red Birds.

Josh Hamilton also has indicated that he would like to get a contract extension. He is presently in the second year of a two-year, $24 million contract and will be eligible for free agency after this season. He had earlier set a deadline for getting a deal done at the start of spring training, as he didn’t want the distraction of contract negotiations during the season. However, contract talks were tabled when his alcohol relapse occurred in January.

This Monday, he told Jim Bowden on Sirius XM radio that he wants to stay with the Rangers and that the price tag will be less now than it will after the season. Team President Nolan Ryan was quoted in the Dallas Morning News, indicating that talks would soon take place with Hamilton’s agent.

Texas has certainly had its share of nagging injuries this spring, but Tuesday an injury cropped up which could be far more than nagging. Neftali Feliz was scheduled to pitch four innings in Tuesday’s start. He completed three nicely pitched scoreless innings, but did not take the mound for the fourth, complaining of shoulder stiffness. He was on the disabled list last season with the same condition; so there is concern that this injury could at a minimum slow his progress as a starting pitcher.

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