Ever since the Yankees dealt Brian McCann to Houston in November, a glaring hole was in their lineup at the DH spot. It seemed likely that Brian Cashman would use the free agent market to fill it, and word has it that the Yankees did just that on Sunday night with former Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday.
WFAN’s Sweeny Murti was the first to report that Holliday was close to a deal with the Yankees, and Jon Heyman later confirmed the signing and revealed the terms. Holliday will be joining the Yankees on a one-year, $13 million contract, which is not a bad deal at all for a productive veteran who hit .246/.322/.461 with 20 homers and a 109 wRC+ last year.
Holliday is a seven-time All-Star with 448 doubles, 295 homers, 44.4 WAR, and a 2011 World Series ring with the Cardinals to his name. Injuries slowed him somewhat in the final couple seasons of the seven-year, $120 million deal he signed with St. Louis in the 2009-10 offseason after coming over at the previous year’s trade deadline.
However, the bright side is that Holliday is not expected to have to worry too much about playing time in the field. He will be the primary DH and also fill a role as backup first baseman and outfielder. Holliday is new to first, having only played 61 2⁄3 innings at the position last year for St. Louis, but plenty of outfielders have made the transition to first base in the past. He will be a nice player to have backing up Greg Bird, whose surgically repaired shoulder will be monitored throughout 2017. (Tyler Austin’s presence as a backup first baseman doesn’t hurt either.)
This is a good upside play since Holliday’s 2016 indicated that he still has right-handed power to offer and a one-year deal for a 37-year-old is harmless. If he’s not working, then it won’t be a hassle to let him go as it might have been on a multi-year deal. Carlos Beltran signed for just three million dollars more with Houston, but he is also knocking on the door of 40. Holliday is a few years younger and probably more likely to produce in 2017.
What do you think of the signing?