That’s right, MLB’s Winter Meetings are heating up and pieces are falling into place. Saturday belonged to Houston and Carlos BeltrA?n. Sunday, the Yankees made their presence known by snatching up Matt Holliday. Just today the pitching market began moving as Mark Melancon and Rich Hill signed with the Giants and Dodgers, respectively. And it looks like plenty more is on its way.
We’ll have reactions on Melancon and Hill tomorrow, but for now we choose to focus on Holliday.
Matt Holliday turns 37 years old in January. The outfielder will be entering his 14th season on his fourth club, this time as a member of the New York Yankees. And for the majority of the past 13, Holliday has been one of the better hitters in baseball. The closest he came to MVP honors was finishing second in 2007, but he’s been nothing if not consistent overall.
From 2004 through 2014, holding a triple-slash of .308/.385/.523 (.908 OPS), Holliday quietly went about his business. First with the Rockies, then 93 games with Oakland before spending the next eight seasons in St. Louis.
He became a doubles machine during those 11 seasons (412), racking up nearly 300 home runs (271) along the way. Outside of one year back in Colorado (2008), Holliday was never a threat on the base paths. And depending on what defensive metric you use (it almost doesn’t matter) he had maybe two seasons in which he wasn’t below average in that department. But it didn’t matter, because Holliday always brought his bat.
That’s why $13 million is just fine to spend on him for one season. For the Yankees, it makes even more sense considering they didn’t re-sign Carlos BeltrA?n. Now I know what you’re thinking: I haven’t mentioned his past two seasons yet. Well his numbers in 2015a��.279/.394/.410 (.804 OPS)a��were great, but his season was limited to just 73 games. Injuries would keep him out for half of June, July, all of August, and half of September.
2016 brought more games, but more of the same on the injury front. Holliday would appear in 110 games, hitting .246 and getting on base at a clip of just .322. Both stand as career lows. Still, 20 doubles and home runs apiece translated to a .461 slugging percentage (and .782 OPS). The latter was another career-low, yet still above average and nothing to scoff at.
Can you imagine a healthy Holliday in 2017? Moving from Busch to Yankee Stadium, a significantly more hitter-friendly park, will only help. But if for some reason it doesn’t work out, look at it this way: it’s just another year closer to Bryce Harper’s potential free agency. Which means another year of somebody simply keeping his locker warm.
Oh wait, Bryce isn’t a DH. Nevermind.