On Sunday, the Yankees signed veteran outfielder Matt Holliday to a one-year and $13 million contract. They did this after not signing a single Major League free agent in the offseason last year.
Holliday will primarily be the designated hitter in the 2017 season but could also see time in the corner outfield spots as a backup to as of now Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner. Holliday will essentially be replacing the spot Brian McCann had on the roster before he was traded to the Houston Astros for two pitching prospects.
There are many positives to signing the 36-year-old native of Stillwater, Oklahoma, who made his debut in 2004, to a one-year contract for next season. The first obvious positive is that it is for only one more year and he shouldn’t have much of a drawback from last season since he was able to hit 20 homers and drive in 62 runs at 36 years old.
It wouldn’t make sense to sign a player like him to a multi-year contract because it is not known when his stats will really start to decline. There were rumors of signing Edwin Encarnacion, which wouldn’t have made sense because even though he is coming off of an excellent 42 homer and 127 RBI season, he is already 33 and wanted a five-year contract. The Yankees are looking to stay young with short term contracts for older players until the offseason of 2018 when Bryce Harper and Manny Machado (among others) are free agents.
Another plus is that his swing is made for Yankee Stadium, so playing in the Bronx could help improve his power numbers. He can be counted on to provide veteran leadership and can also be relied on to get on base at a consistent rate since he has a career .382 on-base percentage.
Holliday had a low .322 on-base percentage last season, but had a remarkable .394 on-base percentage in 73 games in 2015 when he was an All-Star and in 2014, when he was 34, he had a .272 average with 20 homers 90 RBI and a .370 on-base percentage.
Ever since trading McCann the Yankees were likely going to sign someone in their 30s to be the designated hitter, and it would have been a mistake for the Yankees to sign a primary designated hitter to a multi-year contract, which is why this one-year contract is ideal. Holliday will be able to possibly help the Yankees reach the playoffs this season after the team missed the postseason in 2016. He also might be able to help Judge become a more patient hitter at the plate, which could help the team for years to come.
Holliday is a seven-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger winner and finished second in MVP voting in 2007 when he was 27. He has previously played for the Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals. He was traded from Oakland to St. Louis in the middle of the 2009 season and had been with the Cardinals ever since.
In 2007, he led the National League with his .340 average. In 2013, Holliday finished third in the National League with his 103 runs scored. In 2012, the last time he was an All-Star before the 2015 campaign, he had a great all-around season with a .295 average, .379 ob-base percentage, 27 homers, 102 RBI, 36 doubles and 75 walks.
For his career, the slugger has a very good .303 average with 295 homers, 1153 RBI, 448 doubles, 1,995 hits, 744 walks, 1,104 runs scored and a .515 slugging percentage. He will have hit his 300th homer and 2000th hit in the early part of next season. His 295 homers are the 12th most among active players, and his 1,995 hits are 11th most among active players.
The Yankees lost 6-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday night in the second game of the series at Busch Stadium. David Phelps, who grew up 20 minutes from the stadium, was not able to get the win while pitching in front 26 friends and family, but the offense and defense did not help him.
The offense was shutout by Lance Lynn, who is one of the Cardinals dominating young starters. He only allowed five hits and three walks in his complete game. Brian McCann and Brian Roberts both hit doubles off of Lynn, but the offense was not able to get a clutch hit with them in scoring position.
Phelps allowed five runs (three earned) in six innings, while striking out five and walking two. The defense let him down in the third inning when the Cardinals scored four runs. With the bases loaded and one out Allen Craig was safe at first on an error by Kelly Johnson, who was playing first since Mark Teixeira was out with stiffness in his wrist. Matt Holliday scored as a result of the error. The sloppy fielding was contagious as Roberts made an error on a routine grounder hit by Johnny Paralta, which allowed Matt Adams and Yadier Molina to score the third and fourth Cardinals runs.
Phelps pitched almost 30 pitches in the first inning and loaded the bases before Johnson’s error so it was not all the defenses’s fault. However, he did take the high road when asked about the errors. “I am never going to be frustrated with my defense,” Phelps said. “You look at the game, Ellsbury runs down a ball the first batter of the game, they pick me up more than they let me down.”
The catch that Jacoby Ellsbury made in the first inning off of leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter’s drive to the warning track was outstanding. He had to fully extend himself to rob Carpenter of at least a double.
The Yankees will try to find more offensive success against Shelby Miller in the series finale at 8:15 EST on Wednesday. A win in the rubber game would give them the edge in the three-game series and would give them a 5-4 record on the road trip against the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Cardinals.
Miller, who has a 3.18 ERA, is younger than Lynn and doesn’t have nearly as many strikeouts. Lynn has 61 strikeouts and Miller has only 45. Miller also has 30 walks, which is not a great strikeout to walk ratio. His 1.39 WHIP puts him in 37th place in the National League, so the Yankees should have a better chance of putting runs on the scoreboard tonight.
Hiroki Kuroda will pitch for the Yankees and will look to improve the team’s record to 28-24. He will also look to bounce back from his last start when he was taken out of the game after 4.2 innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) and gave up eight hits, two walks and a homer. Kuroda’s pitched much better in his start on May 17 as he allowed three runs in six innings and struck out seven.
He will try to locate his splitter and breaking balls to end his streak of not having won a road game since getting the win at Texas last July 25.
The Blue Jays, who have won eight in a row, currently lead the AL East this late in the season for the first time since the year 2000. The Yankees are three games behind in second place.
The good news on the injury front for the Yankees is that Carlos Beltran did not have any issues with his 30 dry swings. It is still not known if he will avoid elbow surgery that would lead to him missing eight to 10 weeks, but his has to be promising. Also, Michael Pineda was able to get through two innings of an extended spring training game without any pain. He threw 20 out of his 28 pitches for strikes. He has been on the DL since May 6 with a right strained teres major muscle.