PITTSBURGH – Colin Holderman took a tumble in the standings when he was traded.
He was shipped from the New York Mets to the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 22 in a deal for designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach. The Mets lead the National League East and the Pirates have fallen into last place in the NL Central.
However, Holderman has a chance to rise in the bullpen pecking order with the Pirates. As a rookie still trying to establish himself as a major-leaguer, the 26-year-old will take that tradeoff.
“That definitely excites me,” Holderman said. “I’m going to have to earn that. It was tough to earn that role in New York with (closer) Edwin Diaz doing what he’s doing. He’s special and definitely one of the best guys in the league, and getting over here, they talked about getting the chance to have a bigger role. Hopefully I earn that, and I thrive in that role.”
The Pirates recalled Holderman from Triple-A Indianapolis prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park. Additionally, reliever Chase De Jong was activated from the 15-day injured list after being out since July 17 with left knee tendinitis.
They fill the roster spots of left-handed starter Jose Quintana and reliever Chris Stratton, who were traded to the St. Louis Cardinals late Monday night for reliever Johan Oviedo and corner infield prospect Malcom Nunez.
Oviedo was optioned to Indianapolis and Nunez was assigned to Double-A Altoona.
All-Star David Bednar is set as the Pirates’ closer. Yet while rookie Yerry De Los Santos and Wil Crowe are currently the primary set-up relievers, there could be opportunity for Holderman to move into high-leverage situations if he pitches well.
Holderman has limited major league experience, having made his debut May 15, but has been effective. He pitched in 15 games for the Mets and was 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.
While the Mets are in win-now mode, the Pirates are rebuilding. Holderman, though, believes in what his new organization is doing after spending a little more than a week with Indianapolis.
Holderman, who had spent his entire professional career with the Mets’ organization since being drafted in the ninth round in 2016, made three relief appearances for Indy and gave up one run in three innings.
“They’re going in the right direction, young with a lot of talent,” Holderman said. “I can tell the culture is, ‘Hey, we’re going to get there and we’re going to win.’ I could tell that right away. I’ve only been with one organization in my six years, and it’s definitely been different, but I’m excited for what the Pirates have ahead of them.”