Matt Holliday May Be a Great Low-Cost Acquisition for the Yankees
When the St. Louis Cardinals declined a $17 million option on Matt Holliday, a likely destination seemed to be an American League team where Holliday could at least serve some time as a designated hitter (DH).
Those stars aligned as the Yankees and Holliday agreed to a one-year contract worth a reported $13 million, where Holliday will presumably DH and see some time at first base.
Holliday has not logged a full season since 2014 -- injuries limited him to only 277 plate appearances in 2015 and 426 plate appearances in 2016. While he still knocked 20 dingers out of the park in 2016, Holliday's production has consistently declined over the last few seasons.
Holliday's move to Yankee Stadium, however, could be a big boost to his production. Holliday is not a dead-pull hitter, so he should be able to take advantage of the short porches in left and right field. In looking at his 2016 batted ball chart, per Fangraphs, 8 of Holliday's 20 home runs went to right field.
His ability to spray the ball to all fields could lead to some pretty gaudy totals. As expected, Yankee Stadium was a very hitter-friendly park last season, ranking second in home run factor, according to Baseball Prospectus.
All in all, for the Yankees, the gamble to add some pop to the lineup seems to be worth it, even if Holliday is no longer the Matt Holliday of old. The Yankees have had success extracting value from older players like Raul Ibanez and Carlos Beltran. On a team featuring several promising youngsters, Holliday could be a much-needed veteran presence in the clubhouse.