According to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, free agent outfielder to be Matt Holliday prefers to play in New York next season, specifically for the Yankees.
According to a person in the loop, Matt Holliday’s top choices in free agency are: 1) Yankees; and 2) Mets. The Oklahoma native is apparently not intimidated by New York.
As of now, I’d say the Yankees don’t want to make another large purchase like that, in the wake of last winter’s shopping spree – and if they win it all, then the pressure from the yakosphere (trademark Neil Best) to get Holliday should alleviate.
The Mets? Based on Jeff Wilpon’s words from a few weeks ago, they’ll consider anything and everything. Of course, many industry folks are very skeptical that the Mets will actually do so.
Holliday’s primary reservation about joining the Mets? Yup, hitting at Citi Field. Maybe they can alter the dimensions? Jerry Manuel hinted near the end of the season that wasn’t impossible.
Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest quotes Jon Heyman who wrote that Holliday will expect the bidding to start at $150 million over seven-years, but River Ave Blues puts out a more likely guess of $100 million over five-years. Both numbers seem insane for a player who is going to be 30-years-old next season.
With Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Xavier Nady becoming free agents this offseason the Yankees will have to address their outfield and it seems like they’ll have somewhere between $20-25 million to do it with. With no other major holes needing to be filled they could spend most or all of it in the outfield.
Still there is no need for the Yankees to feel forced to sign Holliday. He’s probably the most attractive option in the outfield. At 30 he’s still got some prime years left, although the Yankees won’t like paying him $20 million when he’s 35 at the end of the deal. Really the Yankees don’t have to continue going after the most expensive option each year as other options will work as well.
They could resign one, two, or even all three of their guys entering free agency – Matsui, Nady, or Damon. All three have question marks though – Matsui and Damon are getting older and each year could be a big drop off from the next. If they are looking for multiple year deals it could keep the Yankees from bringing them back. Nady is also coming off of a major injury, actually his second Tommy John surgery, and his health and arm, are not guaranteed in 2010.
Other than that they could go after Boston’s left fielder Jason Bay or even the Angel’s Chone Figgins. Neither are as attractive as Holliday, but they’ll likely get less years and fewer dollars. Honestly, I’d like to see the Yankees take a pass on Holliday unless he would agree to the same deal Damon and Matsui are playing on right now – 5-years-$52 million.