As the offseason continues to progress, there are countless rumors that go around surrounding each team and who they are interested in. This year is no different, as the New York Yankees have expressed interest in former St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday. A 7-time All-Star, Holliday was one of the most prolific hitters in his prime as someone who could anchor a lineup while providing 25+ homers and 90+ RBIs and hitting around .300 consistently.
But age and attrition seems to be catching up with Holliday, as he hit only .246 with 20 HRs and 60 RBIs in 382 at-bats last season. The run production was still solid, but the average was way down from his career mark of .303 and was a major liability on defense, with a -1.3 dWAR. So would he be a good fit for for the Yanks? They won’t be signing the 36-year-old for his glove, that’s for sure.
Remember, Holliday isn’t the only player New York is interested in this winter, as the team is also considering another stint for Carlos Beltran or former Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion at DH. So if these are the three most prominent names the Yanks are after, it all comes down to their mentality for 2017 and beyond.
The Yankees definitely know what Beltran can bring even at his advanced age, as he slashed .295/.337/.513 with 29 homeruns and 93 RBIs en route to an All-Star appearance at 39 years old! Even if he can’t replicate those solid numbers next season, Beltran could still be a useful middle-of-the-lineup bat the Bronx Bombers could get on a short-term deal to help mentor and alleviate the pressure off of their younger players in 2017.
Encarnacion is a bit of a different story. At 33 years old, he is showing no signs of slowing down, hitting at least 34 homers and driving in at least 98 RBIs in each of the last five seasons. With the likes of Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista accompanying him in the Toronto lineup in the last few years, an argument can be made that teams were forced to pitch to Encarnacion which enabled him to punish opposing pitchers. That caveat aside, Encarnacion will likely want more than a short-term deal simply because of his recent track record, which should make the Yankees weary given how they have been burned when handing out contracts to players that expire in their late 30s (A-Rod, Texeira, CC Sabathia).
With the surge of young talent on the come-up, New York should be looking to find ones to help them prosper and facilitate their progress, not set up potential roadblocks for their ascension. With that in mind, the team should prioritize signing either Holliday or Beltran to a one-year deal so they don’t tie themselves up unnecessarily with a bad contract. Holliday and Beltran both carry some mild injury risks but Beltran was pretty solid the last time he was in pinstripes. He is, however, almost three years older than Holliday so ultimately, the Yankees have to choose between the devil they know and the devil they don’t