The Yankees didn’t make an abundance of moves this winter and according to Brian Cashman, the team is pretty much packing up shop for the winter.
However, one player the Yankees signed during the offseason is expressing his excitement over donning pinstripes. Especially since he is technically the only new Yankee on the roster.
Matt Holliday turned 37 on Sunday, and was previously with the St. Louis Cardinals from part of 2009 to 2016. His dream was to always play for the Yankees and during the 2009 offseason, he had the Yankees on a short list of teams he wanted to sign with. However, the Yankees went with a different approach; they traded for Curtis Granderson and signed Nick Johnson to a one-year deal.
Holliday eventually re-signed with the Cardinals during the 2009 offseason and stayed with the team until his contract expired. A lot had changed for the Yankees in the outfield since then; Brett Gardner was the only constant piece in the outfield from 2010 to 2016, the team over payed for Jacoby Ellsbury and right field appears to be a black hole at the moment. Also it’s worth mentioning Carlos Beltran signed with the Houston Astros, Brian McCann was traded to the Astros and Mark Teixeira retired.
The Yankees don’t envision Holliday as an outfielder anymore, which was the main reason why they kept Gardner despite the weekly trade rumors. But the Yankees were able to find something for Holliday to do. The team recently signed Holliday to a one-year contract where he’ll be the primary DH. He’ll no longer play the outfield and he’ll get in a few reps at first.
The entire offseason had been a whirlwind for Holliday, who saw his dream of becoming a Yankee come true.
“I don’t know if it’s still the case if you polled most of the players in MLB, but at one point, every guy in the league would say, ‘Yeah, it would be a great to be a Yankee,’ ” Holliday said to the New York Post. “And I think to some degree, it still is.
“But yeah, for me to get a chance to be a part of the New York Yankees organization is something that was always appealing to me. My grandpa was a huge Yankees fan. He was in Pennsylvania. He’d be in the kitchen with his ear next to the radio listening to the Yankees game. It was probably on TV at that point, but he still loved his way of listening and being a fan. It’s exciting.”
Holliday may be 37 years old, but he still can bring a lot to the table. Except for 2015 where he only played in 73 games, Holliday hit at least 20 home runs in a season (2010-2014, and 2016).
The Yankees mainly signed Holliday for his bat, and Holliday admits that being a DH is something you can’t prepare for. But knowing he might get some reps at first gives him something to prep for when the exhibition season begins next month.
“I honestly feel better than I did five years ago,” Holliday said.
Hopefully Holliday can translate that into a successful 2017 season with the Yankees.