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SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Derek Holland wanted to ensure his long-term future with the Texas Rangers, so he agreed to a $28.5 million, five-year contract rather than wait to become a free agent.

The deal, announced Tuesday, calls for salaries of $1 million this year, $3.2 million next year, $5.4 million in 2014, $7.4 million in 2015 and $10 million in 2016.

Texas holds an $11 million option for 2017 with a $1.5 million buyout. If the first option is exercised, the Rangers have an $11.5 million option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout. There are additional escalators.

He would have been eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.

“I know I gave up that stuff, the three years, but to me it’s all about being in Texas and wearing that Texas uniform and going back and getting some championships,” the 25-year-old left-hander said. “I’m very excited to be a part of this. We’ve got an unbelievable team. We’ve got upcoming stars coming up through the organization, and I want to be part of that, as well. I want to show them what it takes to be up here. That’s my main objective is to carry out what I’ve been doing, continue to work hard.”

Holland, originally from Ohio, intends to purchase a home in Texas.

“The most important thing for me is getting a house in Dallas, being a resident in Texas,” he said.

Holland was 16-5 last season, the most wins for Texas among players under 25. He pitched two-hit ball over 8 1-3 shutout innings against St. Louis in Game 4 of the World Series and is 3-0 with a 3.82 ERA in 12 postseason appearances during the past two years.

“We said at the beginning of the offseason that it was one of our goals to extend some of our core members and keep this group intact as long as possible,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “I think we all saw Derek really start to reach his potential last year especially in the second half.”

Texas added Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish during the offseason for a $56 million, six-year deal.

“They’re going to be big parts of our rotation, no doubt about that,” Daniels said. “It’s certainly about the individual, but it’s about our commitment to signing and developing the best pitching we can. It’s an organizational mindset. We’ve tried to turn that corner a little bit and this is further evidence of that.”

Holland made only 10 starts and four relief appearances in 2010 after rotator cuff inflammation. He went 8-13 with a 6.12 ERA in 2009.

“Baseball is full of adversity,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “There wasn’t a time that Derek dealt with adversity that he didn’t fight back. That’s what I like about him. He’s maturing.”

Rangers president Nolan Ryan said most young player go through struggles.

“With Derek, he would bounce back from them and be better each time he went through a period like that,” Ryan said.

Holland said there were “quite a few times” Washington chewed him out on the mound.

“When Wash comes out there, I don’t take it to heart,” Holland said. “He’s always out there to make you better. That’s just the way it is. If he sees something, he’s going to tell you. That’s what makes him so good. He’s not afraid to speak his mind and let you know.”


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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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