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Yankees sign Matt Holliday: Media reactions

The Yankees have their DH for 2017 in Matt Holliday. What can the media tell us about this decision?

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish. How many pieces do you wish?
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

As soon as Gary Sanchez took the league by storm, it was clear that Brian McCann’s days as the Yankees’ catcher were numbered. There was some chatter at first though that he could stick around as the team’s designated hitter since the departures of Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez left a void. Brian Cashman, however, had other ideas. He said his final “dale” and shipped McCann to the Astros for two pitching prospects. All of the sudden, the Yankees needed someone to fill in at DH.

While some have pointed out that the spot could have been used as a revolving door for the older players on the roster, and even Sanchez when he needed a break from catching, that’s not a great plan. As 2013 and 2014 showed us, the revolving door at DH can get quite frustrating. As 2015 showed us, having a dedicated DH who can hit can be exciting. Now the 2017 Yankees have their DH in Matt Holliday, who comes over on a one-year deal after an extremely successful seven-year stint with the Cardinals. Is there anything else we can learn about this deal?

Well this makes sense. If the Yankees signed Encarnacion, he would have also served as insurance for Greg Bird, who spent the entirety of the 2016 season recovering from shoulder surgery. Bird played in the Arizona Fall League and came out of it healthy which is the most important thing (yes, he showed rust there, but that’s not important) but it’s still good to have insurance for him.

One thing to note, however, is that Holliday’s experience at first base is quite limited. One can choose to look at that with a grimacing face, but there’s potentially a good thing about Holliday’s limited experience there. It shows that the Yankees seem pretty confident in Bird’s ability to come back and regain his top form.

If they had any serious doubts about Bird, one would think they’d pursue a someone with more experience at first. Sure, it helps that the Yankees do also have Tyler Austin on the roster, but when the Yankees are actively rooting for one candidate over the other that has to tell you something: first base for the Yankees right now is Bird or bust.

It’s nice that the Yankees have faith in Bird, but that still doesn’t answer “Why Holliday?” There were still better hitters available on the market, so was he the best choice for them?

It would’ve been nice to see someone like Edwin Encarnacion hit dingers for the Yankees rather than against them, but a transition team doesn’t have a “need” for a long-term DH. A bridge player on a short deal makes sense for a team that’s rebuilding and trying to steer themselves in a certain direction.

The Yankees under Hal Steinbrenner have long had a desire to get under the luxury tax threshold. While Plan-189 failed miserably in 2013, with the new CBA and the rising threshold, it seems like a real possibility in the next couple years. If they do decide to spend like the “good ol’ days” then, resetting their tax (which they can do if they get under the threshold) will go a long way in the future.

Personally, I believed that this is one of the best times to actually sacrifice a draft pick. The Yankees acquired so much in terms of prospects between July and now that one lost draft pick would be easy to bear. Although they were able to select James Kaprielian 16th overall and Blake Rutherford 18th overall in their respective drafts, it’s hard to blame the Yankees for wanting to hold onto that pick in the attempt to strike gold once again.

Joel Sherman goes into a bit more detail on both the draft and the luxury tax threshold below:

Yes to Holliday! But no Edwin for the @yankees? Joel Sherman explains. #WinterMeetings

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It’s easy to see why the Yankees went after Holliday rather than one of the bigger names in the free agency market. But what kind of hitter are the Yankees getting?

Even though he may not be in-his-prime Matt Holliday, his bat still shows some life. He’s still hitting the ball quite hard, and his low BABIP could indicate that he was just a victim of some bad luck. Hopefully he can turn that luck around and bring some much needed power and life to a Yankees lineup outside of Gary Sanchez.

In addition to the potentially good player the Yankees have added, he also seems like a great guy. It’s always nice when the team you root for signs a person that’s easy to root for. With all the charity work he does, especially with children, it should be quite easy to root for him.

While there’s some speculation about his grandfather fought in WW1 or WW2, what there’s no speculation about is this: Holliday also has a pretty cool Yankee connection!

However the most important takeaway is yet to come:

If nothing else, at least we have this.