The Yankees and veteran Matt Holliday agreed to a deal on Sunday, and while Holliday isn’t the same player he was early in his career with the Rockies or Cardinals.
However, the bigger picture is worth noting.
Big Time FLEXIBILITY: Holliday will provide the Yankees backup in the outfield and at first base, though he played just eight games there in 2016. General manager Brian Cashman said he preferred to add a DH that would give the Yankees the flexibility they didn’t have at the position last year when Alex Rodriguez was struggling for the first half. A-Rod was strictly a DH. Holliday is limited in the outfield and has little first base experience, but it’s better than nothing — to the Yankees, anyway.
Forward Thinking: Now that the Yankees have signed Holliday, they can move on to other pressing concerns. Last week, Cashman indicated closer was a priority when he talked about how much it might cost to add a free agent, such as Aroldis Chapman, and how that could affect the Yankees’ spending at other areas of need.
Draft picks are gold: The Yankees want to hold on to their first-round pick. That goes without saying, probably. But if they wanted to sign Edwin Encarnacion or Mark Trumbo or Jose Bautista to fill the role, they would have lost it. So, for now, the Yankees keep the selection, which is currently No. 17.
More Trades to come?: With Holliday having played 84 games in left field for the Cardinals last year could the Yankees be nearing a trade that would send Brett Gardner elsewhere? Gardner has been the subject of trade speculation for years. Though he’s a homegrown Yankee, the team could be interested in moving him if it makes them younger — and cheaper. Gardner is due $12 million in 2017 and $11 million in 2018. The Yankees also have Aaron Hicks, who underperformed last year though the team thinks he’s not finished developing.
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