On Saturday evening, longtime Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday signed a one-year, $13 million contract with the New York Yankees. It is the second time in recent years that an aging Cardinals corner outfielder headed to New York, after Carlos Beltran following 2013.
The news was hardly surprising; the final weekend of the Cardinals’ season against the Pittsburgh Pirates was as much a victory lap for their veteran outfielder as it was a critical series in a playoff race. And New York is a sensible fit for Holliday—the Yankees are a team that is getting younger but still hopes to compete and could use a short-term player like Holliday to serve as a left fielder on occasion, though more frequently a designated hitter, but would presumably rather not invest long-term as they position themselves for the 2018 offseason and high-profile free agents such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
By Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement, Holliday is the 26th best position player in franchise history, and he ranks 17th among players since World War II, sandwiched between Cardinals Hall of Famers Willie McGee and Joe Torre. Holliday was a model of consistency for the Cardinals and for me, my tweet (from the Viva El Birdos Twitter account) as he prepared to pinch-hit on October 1 (he had an RBI single) sums up his tenure.
I unconditionally support using Holliday here. His legacy in St. Louis was never going to be one home run. It was seven years of reliability— viva el birdos (@vivaelbirdos) October 1, 2016
So Jaime Garcia has been traded, Seth Maness is a free agent, and Matt Holliday is off to the New York Yankees. The complexion of the 2017 Cardinals will be different from 2016 regardless of further moves. The latter have not yet been made (obviously), but over the weekend, we did some recapping and analysis of the former on Viva El Birdos.
On Friday, Seth Maness was not tendered a contract offer by the Cardinals, making him a free agent. It was not an enormous surprise but any time a team declines the right to sign a player for generally below-market value pre-arbitration amounts, it is worth at least mentioning.
Jaime Garcia aftermath
Ben Markham wrote about how Jaime Garcia’s departure could create opportunities for Alex Reyes in the 2017 rotation. Reyes may have the highest upside of any Cardinals pitcher and is certainly going to be a name to watch for the organization going forward.
Meanwhile, the red baron evaluated Luke Dykstra, one of the players the Cardinals acquired in the Jaime Garcia trade. Yes, Luke is the son of Lenny. No, John Gant is not the son of Ron Gant. Yes, that disappoints me, too. But read about Luke anyway.