The Yankees have their designated hitter.
Matt Holliday agreed to a one-year, $13 million deal to join the Yankees Sunday, marking the first major move this winter for general manager Brian Cashman. The deal is pending a physical, according to a source.
Following last month’s trade of Brian McCann to the Astros, the Yankees were in the market for a designated hitter. Free-agent options included Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Mike Napoli, but Beltran inked a one-year, $16 million pact with the Astros on Saturday and Napoli was likely looking for more than one year, making Holliday – who turns 37 in January – the ideal fit.
Holliday hit .246/.322/.461 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI in 110 games for the Cardinals in 2016, starting 82 games in left field, nine at first base and eight at DH as he missed roughly seven weeks late in the season with a thumb injury. A seven-time All-Star, Holliday is a career .303/.382/.515 hitter over 13 seasons in Colorado, Oakland and St. Louis.
Holliday is unlikely to see much time in left field with Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks on the roster, though he could spell Greg Bird occasionally at first base as Tyler Austin is currently the team’s only other option there.
Holliday also brings some veteran leadership to what has become a young clubhouse, helping to make up for the departure of McCann, Beltran, Andrew Miller, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez in recent months.
The Yankees stood pat during the past few weeks, waiting on Major League Baseball and the players’ union to reach a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement. Yoenis Cespedes signed with the Mets earlier this week and Beltran went to Houston Saturday, and while the Yankees inquired about both players, they never extended a formal offer to either.
“I don’t feel like we’ve missed out on any opportunity that was realistic,” Cashman said Friday. “This market is saturated with bats. The bullpen market, you’ve got a lot of different choices. I think we still have time on that.”
With the Winter Meetings set to officially kick off Monday on the outskirts of Washington, DC, the Yankees remain intent on adding a big-name closer this winter, with Aroldis Chapman at the top of their list. Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon are also of interest to the Yankees, who would like to pair one of the three with Dellin Betances at the back end of the bullpen.
The addition of Holliday essentially finishes off the Yankees’ offense for 2017, though they continue to look at other options in the event that they are able to trade either Brett Gardner or Chase Headley in the coming weeks.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News