|NEW YORK YANKEES|
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Signed OF-R Matt Holliday to a one-year, $13 million contract. [12/5]
By the standards that New York tabloids have set for themselves, a headline in Tuesday’s New York Post was about as boring as a cup of vanilla yogurt. “Cashman vaguely explains why Yankees grabbed Matt Holliday,” the text above a story on the signing read.
The irony here is that, while it's necessary for us in the media to get an explanation for every move from the executive that made it, the signing of Holliday didn’t need to be explained. Brian Cashman couldn’t comment on the specifics of an unofficial deal—worth a reported $13 million for one year—and that was perfectly fine.
Holliday, who will turn 37 in January, is a low-risk signing by a team that’s counting down the days until Gary Sanchez wins a Silver Slugger and Clint Frazier reaches Kristaps Porzingis status in New York. By trading away Brian McCann at the beginning of the offseason, the Yankees freed up the DH spot, which they could use to try to remedy a lack of power in their lineup, specifically from the right side.
They weren’t incredibly interested in a long-term commitment at the position, which eliminated bats like Yoenis Cespedes and Mark Trumbo from the equation, and they want to hold onto the 17th pick in the upcoming draft. That seemed to narrow things down to Holliday or Carlos Beltran, and the Yankees apparently decided to go with the player two years younger who does not color his head with a permanent marker before games.
Holliday has been about as consistent as they come in the power department, hammering at least 20 home runs in six of the last seven seasons. If you remove three injury-shortened campaigns, he hasn’t dipped below that mark since 2005. His batting average (.246) and TAv (.279) took significant hits last year in St. Louis, but his slugging percentage rose to its highest mark in three years. New York is signing him to hit gappers and home runs in the middle of the lineup, in a smaller ballpark, and Holliday should be able to give the Yankees a solid return on their investment.
The 13-year veteran will also be able to spell Greg Bird at first base and play some outfield on occasion, but he should spend the majority of his time at DH. It seems like the first time since the invention of the smartphone, but the Yankees actually don’t have any graying players that need occasional half-days off. That could work out in Holliday’s favor, considering how well Alex Rodriguez hit in his first full season as an everyday DH. Any way you slice it, this is a safe, logical move by Cashman, and one that warrants little explanation.