The New York Yankees signing of Matt Holliday will push one of their talented young bats to the bench or the minors in favor of a declining and injury-prone former star.
When the Houston Astros announced that they had signed Carlos Beltran, it was cause for celebration for some. It meant that the Yankees no longer had a chance to sign him. This is no knock on Beltran or his abilities. At age 39, he can still rake.
Then again, he’s pushing 40 and injury prone the past few seasons. The Yankees, who had said they were moving in a direction to get younger, needed someone who can provide power from the DH spot. More importantly, someone who can stay in the lineup.
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So what did they do instead? They signed Matt Holliday, a player entering his late 30’s who’s seen limited action the past few seasons because of, well, injuries. Sure, Holliday was once an elite hitter. However, the past two seasons he’s played in 73 and 110 games respectively.
Holliday is also coming off a season in which he hit a career low .246. This is not an early gift for the holiday season. It’s more like finding out early that you’ll be getting coal in your stocking.
If the Yankees front office wanted to give fans cause for celebration, perhaps they could have worked out a trade for a younger slugger. You know, someone who fits the direction the team is going in.
This signing is reminiscent of the 2013-14 offseason, when the Bombers tried to sell Travis Hafner as a middle of the order power threat. The Yankees had seemingly learned their lesson, and made moves to rid themselves of older players who were on the decline. Then they go and sign exactly that type of player, despite their being no great rush to sign anyone at this point.
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Think about that for a minute. Edwin Encarnacion was still on the market. Despite wanting a four year deal, would it have destroyed Brian Cashman to wait and see if his stance changed years wise?
Could the Yankees front office simply waited until the Winter Meetings to see if they could fill the slot via trade? Why does a team with a surplus of young outfield prospects sign a player whose only fielding experience is left field and a handful of games at first base? It doesn’t make sense.
In the end, as a Yankee fan I hope Matt Holliday proves me wrong. Perhaps his arrival is cause for celebration. The hope is that the $13 million he makes this year does not represent a million dollars for every RBI he gets this coming season.
Here’s to hoping that Holliday stays healthy and is a positive influence on the Baby Bombers. Finally, here’s to hoping that the Yankees front office is still committed to their youth movement, and that this signing is an anomaly.