Chalk Up Matt Holliday As Another ‘W’ for Brian Cashman

Dan Brink

On December 4, 2016, while some Yankees fans were watching the Pittsburgh Steelers handle the New York Giants, it was reported that the Yankees and Matt Holliday had agreed to terms on a one year, $13 million contract.

This was an “Eh, okay” move for a lot of Yankees fans. Holliday had just finished a seven and a half year tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals, and, in his final two seasons, he only played in 183 games combined. However, in 110 games (426 plate appearances), he mustered 20 home runs. Still, the Yankees signed a player entering his age 37 season to a one year deal when they were not supposed to challenge teams like the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.

Some people had thoughts along the lines of, “If he’s good and the Yankees are out of it, we’ll trade him,” or, “If he’s bad, we’ll release him.” After all, the Yankees are paying Alex Rodriguez $21 million to not play for them this year, and also paying Brian McCann $5.5 million this year and in 2018 not to play for them as well. So they’d have no problem paying Holliday if he didn’t contribute to the team much, right?

The good thing is that they’ll likely never have to worry about that.

Fast forward six months, and Holliday is an enormous part in why the Yankees sit in first place in the American League East at 38–23, holding a four game lead over the second place Red Sox. Entering play on June 12th, Holliday is hitting .284 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI’s with a slash line of .384/.538/.922 (on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS). In the month of June, those lines read .389/2/11 along with /.500/.667/1.167. He also is in a fun little competition with teammate Brett Gardner.

In MLB free agency this past off-season, there were several other names out there in the DH market. Edwin Encarnacion. Kendrys Morales. Former Yankee Carlos Beltran. All of them had better seasons last year than the then 36 year old Holliday. This year, that hasn’t been the case (entering play on June 12th):

Encarnacion: .246/12/26 — .354/.449/.803 (signed for three years, $60 million with the Cleveland Indians)

Morales: .254/12/34 — .309/.464/.773 (signed for three years, $33 million with the Blue Jays)

Beltran: .237/8/24 — .283/.414/.697 (signed for one year, $16 million with the Houston Astros)

Holliday has better numbers than all three of them. What is also worth noting is that Brian Cashman did not have to give him a multi-year deal like Encarnacion’s and Morales’ teams did. Beltran, on the other hand, received a one year deal, but also received more money and has been by far the least productive out of the four I am comparing here.

Holliday has also been a huge guy to have in the locker room for the Yankees. People in the organization have spoken highly of him. It’s hard to believe he is only one of seven players on the Yankees 40-man roster over the age of 30. He not only provides leadership in the clubhouse, but has been a stalwart in the three and four hole in the Yankees lineup this season.

And he only came for the price of $13 million for one year. Bravo, Brian Cashman.