Monday, December 5, 2016

Holliday on ice

So much for Edwin Encarnacion...

Yesterday, the Yankee stockholders opened their combination lock purses and signed 13-year veteran OF Matt Holliday to a one-and-off deal for $13 million. Thirteen years, thirteen million, replacing number thirteen... you want omens? Chew on that.

Holliday is a fading RH slugger who, like most Yankee players, peaked around 2007. Over the last two years, his numbers have noticeably, almost cruelly withered - mainly due to injuries. Still, it's not forcing us to relive 2016 (Beltran) or threaten 2020-21 (Encarnacion). As Donald Rumsfeld would say, at least we know what we don't know. But here are a few known knowns and unknowns.

1. Much of yesterday's signing will eventually be framed by who gets Encarnacion and for how long. If he signs with Boston, kiss the next two years goodbye. If he stays in the AL, whatever team gets him becomes - at the least - a major contender for the wild card. Still, I never thought we were in play on Encarnacion. We just went to the auction, sat in the back row and pretended to be lifting our card now and then. It's an improvement over last winter, when Hal hid under the bed, terrified that the free agents would come to visit.

2. We don't lose a first-round pick. This is significant. To me, it means we do not plan to sign any free agents who are lashed to qualifying offers. (Kelly Jansen and Justin Turner would have been potential targets.) I'm relieved. In this age, no middling team can afford to surrender its top pick, period. (Rich Hill and Aroldis Chapman are still out there, and neither will cost us.) Can you imagine playing a gazillion years and finally hitting the free agent market, and then having your worth devalued exponentially, because your old employer sticks you with a going-away, one-year offer? That truly sucketh.

Holliday's recent stats: age, games, HR, RBI, BA, OBP 
3. Take a gander at Holliday's recent (this decade) beautistics. Clearly, his career is in decline. Nevertheless, he's never had a bounce-back year, and guys like him often do. He's played 13-seasons in the NL and should benefit from playing DH. And for as bad as he was last yeaer, if he had played a full season, he almost surely would have led the Yankees in HRs. (BTW, that's a reminder of who absolutely crappy we were. On last year's team, a .246 batting average was Rod Carewish.)

4. He probably bats behind Gary Sanchez in the lineup, which now looks like this. (I'm still assuming Brett Gardner is traded:)

Ellsbury cf
Castro 2b
Sanchez c
Holliday dh
Bird 1b
Gregorius ss
Headley 3b
Judge rf
Hicks lf

Way I see it, either Tyler Austin or Rob Refsnyder are loose change. Also, the above team comes in third. (Everything hinges on the two Aarons.)

5. Over his career, Holliday has never been a platoon slugger. He hits against everybody. He plays every day. With RISP, he's hit .305 over 13 years. We can use that. And here's a glimpse into Joe Girardi's binder: He is an absolute crusher when ahead in the count.
1-0: .368.
2-0: .379
3-0: .227 (Uh-oh. Forget the green light, Joe.)
2-1: .426
3-1: .481

When a pitcher is ahead in the count, he's a mere .258 - nearly 50 points below his career average. And one last thing: Holliday always crushed us, hitting .356. Everything considered, at least we took him off the street. Now... what comes next?


KD said...

I like this move. EE would have been clogging the lineup at the exact time our sprouts will begin hitting their stride. another albatross contract avoided! maybe the Yanks are learning.

But Hal is still cheap.

JM said...

I'm with KD. One year for a stopgap without losing a draft pick...sounds like a good idea to me. Now let's see what the kids can do.

Oh, wait, we still need to trade Ellsbury. That won't be happening. Sadly. And I like the guy. Well, he gets hurt a lot, so we may see more kid outfielding than we think.

Parson Tom said...

Good lord, Duque. Look at the bottom third of that line-up. Forget trading Gardner. Cut Hicks! Bring back Nettles and drop Headley. Something has to happen. Judge is going to strike out. I'm pretty sure his middle initial is K. Surround him with Headley and Hicks? Three times through the lineup every game. Awful!

Pissed Off said...

How fucking stupid is this for a team that needs to develop young talent. One young player--name him--is not going to develop at the major league level because of the acquisition of this washout. Cashman is the dumbest fuck in the history of general managers.

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