Posted on December 4 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Yankees have made their first big acquisition of the offseason, and it’s Matt Holliday. Multiple sources reported on Sunday night that the Yankees have agreed to a one-year deal with Holliday worth $13 million. The team is yet to announce the deal, but by all accounts, Holliday has agreed to play the 2017 season in the Bronx.
The Yankees were expected to sign a big bat at some point this offseason, but oddly enough, Holliday was rarely mentioned as being connected to the Bronx Bombers. There was speculation earlier in the offseason that Holliday may enjoy a return to the Colorado Rockies late in his career. There were also reports released as recently as Sunday morning connecting Holliday to the Boston Red Sox. Nevertheless, it appears that Holliday has landed with the Yankees.
New York was reportedly one of the suitors for Carlos Beltran before he signed with the Astros on Saturday. After Beltran decided to return to Houston, many believed the door was open for the Yankees to sign Edwin Encarnacion, who many view as the best offensive player left on the free agent market. However, instead of committing four or five years and close to $100 million to Encarnacion, the Yankees have decided to add Holliday on a one-year deal, after previously viewing him as a backup option.
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The $13 million salary for Holliday is just a little less than the $17 million he made with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016. The Cardinals chose to pay Holliday a $1 million buyout rather than inviting him to return to St. Louis in 2017, making him a free agent in the twilight of his career. Holliday is coming off a season in which he posted career-lows in several offensive categories, including batting average and OPS. However, he did contribute 20 home runs and 20 doubles despite missing six weeks late in the season with a broken thumb.
The Yankees likely signed Holliday to be the team’s primary DH, although it doesn’t hurt that he can still play left field if needed. Generally, left-handed power hitters have more success while playing half their games at Yankee Stadium, but Holliday appears to have enough pop left in his bat to hit the ball out of any park. Holliday has hit at least 20 home runs in 10 of the last 11 seasons, with the only exception being an injury-plagued 2015 campaign.
Barring the addition of another big bat coupled with the trade of either Brett Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury, Holliday will be penciled in as New York’s DH in 2017. His signing is a bit of a surprise with sluggers like Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo still on the market, but the Yankees did answer the question of who will be their DH in 2017, and they did so without committing to a long-term contract. Even if Holliday puts up numbers comparable to what he produced last year in St. Louis, the signing of Holliday has a chance to be a good one.