Jon Heyman of SI.com said today that he expects the Yankees to make a hard push for Matt Holliday this offseason and after seeing the way Holliday has played for St. Louis, I believe him.
Going into next season the biggest need for the Yankees is going to be in the outfield. Sure they may need to add an additional starter and can always use bullpen help, but the outfield is going to need to be addressed with the pending free agency of Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui.
Nady remains a big question mark and the Yankees could sign Matsui to a deal if he agrees to a Bobby Abreu type 1-year-deal at a low rate. Damon wants to say and probably will, but now that it seems that Austin Jackson could spend all of or at least part of 2010 in triple-A, the Yankees are likely to add another outfielder.
Holliday is the top free agent in a class that is rather shallow, but includes Jason Bay, Bobby Abreu, Matt Cameron, and Vladimir Guerrero.
Bay could be an attractive player, but he could likely be back in Boston. Abreu and Cameron are past their prime and Guerrero could join that group as well. So that leaves Holliday as the Yankees most likely target. At the age of 30-years-old and a 1.011 OPS split at a home that is not Coors Field, he easily leads the pack.
That brings us to what the Yankees can offer. As per a previous article, I’m going off the belief that they have $26.6 million coming off the books and they are looking to cut payroll so they’re probably going to only pay out an additional $20 million in salaries next year.
If they are serious about bringing back Damon it’ll probably happen between $6-8 million so that only leaves them about $12-14 million available to other free agents, namely, Holliday.
Depending on how the feel about it, obviously they’d prefer to stay away from a very long-term deal with a 30-year-old, they seem right in line to offer Holliday another one of their $52 million/4-year-deals that Damon and Matsui made popular.
If he’s willing to agree to that, the two sides seem like a perfect fit.