"I just want to thank everybody for giving me this opportunity," Holland said as he pointed out Minor League pitching instructors Terry Clark, Danny Clark and Keith Comstock in the back of the tent. The Rangers asked them to attend the news conference because they were instrumental in Holland's development from a 25th-round Draft pick in 2006 to a 16-game winner last season and the club's No. 2 starter going into the '12 season.
"There are a lot of people who helped make this happen," Holland said. "That's the big thing ... I want to thank them ... I want to thank everybody."
The Rangers rewarded Holland with a new contract and view it as a symbol of their commitment to scouting, drafting and developing young pitching.
"His work ethic is impressive and how he handles adversity," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "There wasn't a time when Derek faced adversity that he didn't fight back. That's what I like about Derek. He cares about his team, he cares about his teammates and he cares about winning."
Holland, who has two-plus years of service time, would have been eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. With the two option years, he could now have to wait until after '18, but Holland said he's not worried about that.
"It's all about being in Texas, wearing the Texas uniform and winning championships," Holland said. "I just want to be a good role model. When I was coming up, I had guys like C.J. Wilson and Michael Young to look up to. Now it's my turn. I want to be that guy."
The Rangers have had ongoing discussions with Holland's agent, Mike Martini, since the offseason. But Holland's road to a multiyear contract really began in the middle of last season. After starting 6-4 but with a 5.10 ERA in his first 17 games, Holland went 10-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his final 15 starts.
He followed that up by going 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances in the playoffs. That included a 4-0 victory over the Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series, when Holland pitched 8 1/3 innings, allowing two hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.
"His work ethic, his conditioning ... he has really jumped to the head of the class," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's a free spirit, but the thing people miss with the moustache is how hard he works, how much he cares and how much he does to succeed."
The Rangers have discussed long-term contracts with multiple players this spring, but Holland is the first they have been able to reach agreement with since camp opened.
"In this particular situation, it's something we talked about during the winter," Daniels said. "Both sides wanted to do it, and both sides were willing to make compromises."