Tag: Matt Holliday

Matt Holliday Adds Proven Winner to Hasten Upstart Yankees’ Youthful Rebuild

A scant three weeks before Christmas, the New York Yankees signed Matt Holliday for one year and $13 million, per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball. 

I will spare you the painfully obvious holiday/Holliday puns.

It’s a solid move for the Yanks, who are in the midst of a youth movement but also seeking to win now.

New York whiffed on outfielder/designated hitter Carlos Beltran when he signed with the Houston Astros for one year and $16 million on Saturday.

The Yankees dealt Beltran to the Texas Rangers at the 2016 trade deadline, but according to Heyman, they were interested in bringing the veteran switch-hitter back. 

Now, they have his ostensible replacementa veteran bat with bona fide big-game credentials.

The Yankees’ emphasis is on shedding costly flotsam and adding cost-controlled depth. In addition to Beltran, they moved ace relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller at the deadline and restocked a farm system that’s now No. 1 in the game, per Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter.

At the same time, they’ve got an unspoken mandate to stay competitive and dance back onto the October stage as quickly as possible. 

Holliday doesn’t guarantee that will happen. He posted a less than stellar .246/.322/.461 slash line last season for the St. Louis Cardinals in 110 games. Injuries limited him to just 73 games in 2015.

On the other hand, he’s a seven-time All-Star who won a ring in 2011 and has 302 playoff plate appearances to his name. The 20 home runs he cracked in 2016 suggest there’s pop residing in his bat. 

He can play the outfield and may see time there if New York trades Brett Gardner. His defense, however, has taken a serious dive.

At this point, he projects best at DH or first base, where he got nine starts last season. That meets the Yankees’ needs, especially with first baseman Greg Bird coming off major shoulder surgery.

Getting reps at DH and playing the bulk of his games in the hitter-happy American League East could give Holliday a late-career bump.

He also won’t cost New York a draft pick since St. Louis didn’t offer him arbitration.

“Our preference is to retain a draft pick if we can,” general manager Brian Cashman said, per George A. King III and Dan Martin of the New York Post. “We have a certain amount of money we want to allocate to allow us to do a number of different things.”

One of those things could be closer Aroldis Chapman, whom the Yankees acquired last December and dealt to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline.

“I would love to be a Yankee again,” Chapman told NY Sports Day’s Ray Negron in November. 

Chapman could command a deal in the vicinity of nine figures, which makes Holliday a more prudent signing than, say, Edwin Encarnacion.

The Yankees were “well-positioned to make a play” for Encarnacion, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Now, with Holliday in the fold, they may pass on the 33-year-old slugger, who came with draft-pick compensation and an unavoidable jolt of sticker shock.

Ditching long-term monetary commitments aligns with a grander vision, as ESPN.com’s Andrew Marchand spelled out:

Will [Holliday] be good in 2017? Who knows? Will the Yankees be good in 2017? No one knows that, either. But if Holliday is solid, it could be a big lift for this bridge year as the Yankees try to reload and rebuild toward 2019, which is when the Yankees’ next “uber” (trademark, Brian Cashman) team might be ready to add Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado and others.

Getting back to the here and now with Holliday, there are reasons for optimism that go beyond the DH and AL East. There were hints of bad luck in his 2016 stat line, per ESPN The Magazine‘s Buster Olney:

New York has work to do. It needs to add arms to a rotation that features Masahiro Tanaka and a heap of question marks. It needs to go hard after Chapman or explore other avenues to give Dellin Betances company in the late innings.

Holliday, though, can be the cherry on top of a sundae that includes catcher and AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Gary Sanchez, 24-year-old masher Aaron Judge and a host of MiLB up-and-comers. 

Whether the Yankees can win the division depends on what further moves they make and what becomes of their competition. The Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles all made the playoffs in 2016 and are looking to improve.

But, at the risk of straining the Holliday/holiday comparison, the Yanks just opened a nicely wrapped package—and checked an item off their wish list.


All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. 

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Matt Holliday to Yankees: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Matt Holliday struggled to find his previous All-Star form throughout an injury-marred 2016 season, but the New York Yankees reportedly took a chance on him Sunday.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Bronx Bombers signed the slugger to a one-year deal worth $13 million. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports confirmed the signing. 

Heyman, citing Sweeny Murti of CBS New York, said Holliday will serve as the designated hitter for the Yankees. 

This comes after the St. Louis Cardinals declined the remaining option year on his previous contract on the heels of a 2016 season in which he played just 110 games and slashed .246/.322/.461 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI. He also fell short in the outfield and was responsible for minus-eight defensive runs saved above average, per FanGraphs.

Holliday played for the Colorado Rockies from 2004 to 2008, the Oakland Athletics for 93 games in 2009 and the Cardinals from 2009 to 2016.

He was an All-Star his final three years with Colorado, as well as his first three full seasons with St. Louis. The seven-time All-Star also made the team in 2015 and has four Silver Slugger Awards and the 2007 National League batting title on his impressive resume.

USA Today ranked him as the 46th-best free agent in this offseason’s class and pointed to some of his decline as he ages: “Once one of the game’s most consistent power hitters, Holliday has begun to show his age over the past two seasons as injuries have become more of a problem. His career-low .246 average and .783 OPS in 2016 confirm the decline.”

Holliday played just 73 games in 2015 because of a right quadriceps injury and dealt with a fractured thumb that required surgery and a facial abrasion after being hit by a pitch in 2016.

He still managed to reach the 20-homer plateau for the 10th time in his career:

In addition to his raw power, Holliday brings postseason experience to his new team. He has 72 playoff games and the 2007 National League Championship Series MVP under his belt and will look to help lead the Yankees to the playoffs in 2017.

He was confident in his abilities heading into the offseason, per Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com: “I have a lot of good baseball left in me.”

That may be the case, but he will be 37 years old throughout the 2017 campaign. The power was still there when healthy in 2016, and he won’t be a liability in the outfield as a designated hitter.

Between his veteran leadership, postseason mettle and pop he brings to the order, Holliday can develop into an impact signing for New York.

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Matt Holliday Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star’s Thumb and Return

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday exited Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs after being hit on his right hand by a pitch in the 10th inning. He was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and it’s unclear when he’ll return to the field. 

Continue for updates.

Holliday Placed on DL

Saturday, Aug. 13 

The Cardinals announced they recalled pitcher Luke Weaver from Triple-A Memphis to take Holliday’s spot on the active roster. 

Holliday Comments on Injury

Friday, Aug. 12 

Holliday discussed the nature of his injury after Thursday’s game:

Holliday Breaks Thumb

Thursday, Aug. 11

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Holliday suffered a fractured thumb and was headed back to St. Louis for further evaluation. 

Veteran Holliday Still Among League’s Best Sluggers 

Even at 36 years old, Holliday continues to show plenty of power at the plate. Through 106 games, he has 19 home runs, 60 RBI and a .451 slugging percentage. However, Holliday is getting on base at the lowest rate of his career. His .315 on-base percentage is 67 points below his career average.

Holliday was on the receiving end of one of the scariest moments this year. On July 21, he took a 95 mph fastball to the face from San Diego Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner:

Despite that hit-by-pitch, the Cardinals put him in the starting lineup the next day.

St. Louis will hope Holliday’s thumb injury proves to be minor, because the timing was not ideal. The Cardinals need his bat in the lineup as they prepare for the stretch run.

After Chicago’s 4-3 win Thursday, the Cubs are 13 games ahead of the Cardinals in the National League Central and are likely going to take the division. That leaves the wild card as the Cardinals’ best chance at reaching the postseason. In a tight NL wild-card race, St. Louis can’t afford to surrender any ground.

Especially with the team struggling mightily this year, the Cardinals need to be able to count on their outfield to deliver at the plate, and Holliday’s absence would make that difficult.

Manager Mike Matheny will likely have to use Tommy Pham or Jeremy Hazelbaker in left field while Holliday recovers.

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Matt Holliday Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star’s Face and Return

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday suffered a facial abrasion in his nose and upper lip area after being hit by a pitch in Thursday’s game against the San Diego Padres. However, he has been cleared to return.

Continue for updates.

Holliday Active vs. Dodgers

Friday, July 22

The Cardinals announced Holliday will play against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

Injuries Continue to Surface for Holliday

Holliday battled lower-back tightness right after the season started in April, but he’s otherwise been healthy following a 2015 campaign that was littered with injuries. 

A year ago, Holliday was limited to just 73 appearances as he battled a right quadriceps injury that hindered his availability throughout the summer. He finished the abbreviated campaign with a .279 batting average, four home runs and 35 RBI.

Prior to the injury, Holliday was batting .244 with 17 home runs and 55 RBI. He’s also posted an on-base percentage of .319.

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Matt Holliday Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star’s Back and Return

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is dealing with lower back tightness suffered on Saturday. It’s unclear when he’ll return to the field.

Continue for updates.

Holliday Scratched vs. Astros

Saturday, March 5

Manager Mike Matheny told reporters Holliday wouldn’t play on Saturday due to his back issue. 

Holliday suffered a right quadriceps strain last June, and he proceeded to hit the disabled list before missing 31 games between June 9 and July 16.

And while it appeared as though Holliday would be able to contribute regularly after returning to the diamond, his quad injury flared up and sent him back to the disabled list. Holliday proceeded to miss the entire month of August before returning down the season’s home stretch. All told, Holliday batted .279 with four home runs and 35 RBI in 73 games last season. 

“I have a passion and a love for the organization,” Holliday said during spring training, per ESPN.com’s Mark Saxon. “I take a lot of pride in being a Cardinal and being part of the organization for seven years. I hope that’s the way it goes, but it’s not always the player’s decision.”

Should Holliday miss time, Matheny will need to shuffle his depth around and decide if he wants to flip Brandon Moss into left field from first base or shift Stephen Piscotty from his place in right field. 

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Matt Holliday Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star’s Illness and Return

The St. Louis Cardinals are looking to go into the playoffs as healthy as possible, but this could be a problem with Matt Holliday coming out of Saturday’s game early.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com noted the roster move in the team’s matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks:

The team’s official Twitter account later reported the problem: 

Considering he was able to play six innings before coming out, it does not seem like this situation will be too serious. Instead, this is likely a precautionary measure to make sure he is healthy before the start of the postseason.

Holliday has been one of the Cardinals’ top hitters this season, drilling 20 home runs and a team-high 90 RBI. Although his .272 batting average will likely end up being a career low for the veteran, he is still a key member of a lineup that has been inconsistent in 2014.

The outfielder hit four home runs last postseason and will need to come through again if St. Louis plans on making another run to the World Series.

If he is forced to miss time, the Cardinals will likely continue to put Peter Bourjos in center field and Jon Jay in left field, where he has played 20 games this season.


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Holliday’s 1,000th RBI Is the Sign of a Career of Consistency

Matt Holliday has always been in an odd place as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

While plenty of fans recognize him for what he has done, there is a certain faction that seems to always be looking for a reason to complain about Holliday.

This is the same faction that always sees him as the obvious “trade chip.” He’s the fan base’s perennial fall guy even when he’s putting up solid numbers—and that’s something he’s done regularly during his time as a Cardinal.

His 1,000th RBI serves only to underscore his role as one of the more consistent outfielders in the game today.

Just as food for thought, here are a few points to keep in the front of your mind when thinking of Matt Holliday.

• An overall career .309 hitter, Holliday is the team leader in batting average among active Cardinals. He has hit .302 in his six seasons with the Cardinals—second only to Albert Pujols. One notch below him is Jon Jay, but that’s a column for another day.

•He’s never hit less than 22 home runs in a full season with the Cardinals. He is the only player currently on the roster who can make that statement.

•Holliday is also the team’s active leader in OBP (.388), slugging percentage (.507) and home runs (117). The fact that he’s in his sixth season with the Cardinals has played a role, however, his ability to put up consistent numbers year after year is the true difference maker.

• While he has suffered through some painful slumps over the years, his hot streaks are capable of carrying a team for several weeks. Overall, he’s had a slow start to 2014, but if we can learn anything from history it’s that Holliday could crank things up at any time.

• It’s long been understood that Holliday’s defense isn’t his strongest tool. No one’s arguing against that. Matt Holliday is a hitter. However, to the naked eye Holliday looks to be making serious strides in left field this year. He seems to be legging out balls that in the past I would argue he wouldn’t have reached.

In 2014, 11 years into his career, Holliday continues to grow as a player. He’s not content with just “mailing it in.”

In St. Louis, playing for an organization with a Triple-A outfield worthy of most major league teams, job security comes only through performance.

While his 2009 contract paying him $17 million per year through 2016 (with a 2017 option) seemed like a huge chunk of change at the time, as time passes it’s beginning to look like a bargain.

With teams beginning to dump more dollars and years into contracts for similar players, Holliday’s ability to stay on the field and put up long-term consistent numbers make him one of the Cardinals better signings in recent history.

When you look at, for instance, David Wright, who signed a contract of similar value, the Holliday contract looks even better. Despite a few minor injuries, Holliday has never missed significant playing time in his career.

Things like appendicitis and the moth incident are just freak injuries. Life happens.

In the meantime, let the naysayers complain about Holliday all they want. His numbers can speak for themselves.

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Re-evaluating MLB’s Biggest Rental Trades of the Past 10 Years

Teams that feel they are close to being championship-caliber will occasionally take the risk of trading away young talent in exchange for one year, and sometimes only two to three months, of an impact player.

While sacrificing the “future”—players with impact potential who will be under team control for several years at a team-friendly rate once they reach the majors, if they’re not there already—to give the big league team a better chance to advance to the playoffs and beyond for the current season has been known to backfire, it can also be great for business. 

And because the business is heavily based on selling ticketsmainly to baseball fans who are focused on how good the team is right now and not three to five years down the road—it’s important for a front office to be aggressive and “go all in” when they feel the time is right.

If all the pieces fall into place, the excitement surrounding the team during a heated pennant race and the capturing of a division title, as well as the anticipation of a playoff series—not to mention ticket sales for games that aren’t on the regular-season schedule—and the actual playoff run is what can win over a fan for life. 

For most of us who have loved a particular team since our youth, it’s very likely that we didn’t become passionate about a team that was losing year after year. Even if it was just one magical season, like in 1984 when the San Diego Padres won the heart of this then-nine-year-old, the excitement of that winning season is what made you want to cheer for that team from that point on. 

Regardless of the outcome, you can’t blame an organization for acting on a golden opportunity to win over thousands of new customers for life. Many have worked out great. Others, not so much. 

Here are eight of the most notable trade rentals over the past decade with an updated grade for each team involved in the deal. 

Begin Slideshow

St. Louis Cardinals Looking for Home Run Rebound in ’14

The 2013 St. Louis Cardinals scored 18 more runs than in 2012 despite hitting 34 fewer home runs. A season after being ranked No. 7 in homers in the National League, they plummeted to No. 13.

Five Cardinals blasted 20 or more long balls in 2012 compared to two last season. And one of them—Carlos Beltran—left via free agency.

Is there a rebound in store for the Redbirds in the power department?

Before that question can be answered, let’s examine the causes for the drop-off in production.

Allen Craig’s total dropped from 22 to 13. He didn’t go deep in April and had just 14 at-bats in September due to injury, so that certainly played a role. But it doesn‘t explain everything.

Craig’s fly-ball rate went from 33 to 28 percent, marking a third straight season in decline. That percentage jumped to 2012 levels in June when he enjoyed his largest home run output with six. However, in July and August, when fly balls travel well in the humid St. Louis summer, he managed just four big flies.

Craig also has dealt with significant leg injuries. In 2011, a broken kneecap cost him several months. Last season, an ankle injury cost him most of September and the postseason. As he approaches 30, if leg issues persist, it becomes more difficult to recover power.

For Yadier Molina, the 22 home runs in 2012 could serve as the outlier. His fly-ball rate remained consistent with previous seasons, but his home run-to-fly-ball ratio (HR/F) spiked to new levels. That percentage leveled out in 2013, hence the 10-homer drop.

David Freese‘s below-average fly-ball rate didn’t suggest a 20-homer season was on the horizon in 2012. However, a career-high 500 at-bats coupled with a 20 percent HR/F rate combined to create a career year—and one he wasn’t likely to repeat.

The good fortune ran out for Freese last season, as the HR/F rate dipped to 10 percent, and the ground-ball rate rose to 55 percent.

Beltran put 24 over the fence last season, falling well short of 2012 totals. The 20 percent HR/F rate that helped him achieve 32 homers dipped to 13 percent.

The Cardinals’ home ballpark also did its part to suppress the long ball.

Busch Stadium ranked No. 24 in the majors last season, surrendering 0.837 home runs a game. That’s down from 0.915 in 2012. But even 2013 levels represent a slight increase for a park that averaged 0.797 homers a game its first six years of existence.

Busch Stadium HR/G (since 2006)
Year HR/G MLB Rank
2013 0.837 24
2012 0.915 21
2011 0.774 27
2010 0.758 26
2009 0.736 28
2008 0.915 19
2007 0.717 28
2006 0.887 19

Losing a perennial 20-homer slugger like Beltran doesn‘t bode well for the Cardinals reaching 2012 levels this season. But new additions, developing youngsters and a reversal of fortune for players like Craig and/or Molina give the Redbirds the potential for an increase from last season.

Matt Adams is the full-time first baseman in St. Louis. After hitting 17 homers in 296 at-bats last season, there’s no reason to believe he won’t surpass 20. And if he improves against lefties, a 30-homer campaign is realistic.

Jhonny Peralta and his nine straight seasons of 10-plus homers—and four seasons of 20 or more—replaces shortstop Pete Kozma, who has three major league long balls. Enough said.

Rookie Oscar Taveras, who hit 23 homers in Double-A in 2012, projects as a 25- to 30-homer player in the majors. While an unrealistic goal for this season, he could reach double digits with enough playing time. Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch addresses how the rookie could impact the Redbirds in multiple ways.

While some stats explain Craig’s drop in power, another hints at a rebound. His 11 percent HR/F rate last season was significantly lower than the previous two seasons, suggesting he’ll be closer to his 2012 numbers.

Matt Holliday hasn’t had a 30-homer season since 2007 with the Rockies. But he did come close to that mark with the Cardinals in 2010 and 2012. A player with eight straight 20-plus home run seasons only needs a smidgen of good fortune to crack 30 again.

Overall, statistical trends indicate the 2014 Redbirds will be closer to last year’s home run production. However, the development of sluggers like Adams and Taveras reflect the potential for a significant power boost in the future.

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Matt Holliday Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star’s Back, Likely Return Date

Mike Matheny’s job just got a little harder as he’s going to be without Matt Holliday for yet another vital game.

MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reported that back tightness will keep the veteran outfielder out of the Cardinals lineup for the third game in a row.   

St. Louis takes on the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

There’s no doubting Holliday’s absence is a significant one for St. Louis. He’s second on the team in home runs (20), runs batted in (91) and runs (99). He’s also tied for fourth in batting average (.298). Few Cardinals players have been as consistent across the board as the 10-year veteran.

Perhaps this is more of a precautionary measure from the Cards and they don’t want to risk Holliday to further injury before the postseason. Although these next five games are important, obviously St. Louis would rather have him at 100 percent in a critical playoff series.

While back tightness doesn’t sound like that serious of a problem, it could potentially be a lingering issue without rest. Holliday just needs to take some time off to fully recuperate.

The Cardinals have locked up a playoff spot, so that’s not a concern, and perhaps that’s a bit more of an incentive to keep Holliday on the bench. The issue at hand, though, is whether they’ll be able to avoid the one-game wild-card playoff. St. Louis has a two-game lead on both the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central.

Getting Holliday back to full health will be key if St. Louis wants to lock up the division and make a World Series push. 

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