OXON HILL, Md. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Matt Holliday figures to balance the New York Yankees’ lineup while not adding a lengthy payroll commitment to a team trying to get under the luxury-tax threshold within the next two years.
“Our preference would be to find someone that would be a short-term contract, that allows us to retain our draft pick, that provides us payroll flexibility as we move forward, doesn’t block any kids going forward in the future, and obviously Matt Holliday would qualify under all those circumstances,” Cashman said Monday at the winter meetings.
Cashman wouldn’t confirm Holliday’s $13 million, one-year deal, which was reached Sunday and is subject to a successful physical. But he made clear made what is likely to be the team’s primary offensive addition. He brings a right-handed bat to a lefty-dominant batting order.
“We didn’t score enough last year, so we’re trying to improve that,” Cashman said. “Also, someone that can play a position, more than just DH. Obviously he would be someone that checks all those boxes.”
Holliday, who turns 37 next month, is likely to be the Yankees’ primary designated hitter. A seven-time All-Star with a .303 career average, he spent 84 games in left field this year for St. Louis, 10 at first and eight at designated hitter.
New York hit .254 with 47 home runs and 193 RBIs in 1,680 at-bats against left-handed pitching, struggling as Alex Rodriguez flailed at the plate before his release in August. Against righties, the Yankees batted .252 with 136 homers and 454 RBIs in 3,778 at-bats.
Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks are set to compete for time in right field, and Greg Bird and Tyler Austin for games at first base.
Carlos Beltran, who had been a DH possibility, agreed to a $16 million, one-year contract with Houston.
“He moved quicker than we had an interest on moving on,” Cashman said.
Cashman also wants to add to his bullpen. New York’s bullpen was its strength early last season, but the Yankees dealt Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs and Andrew Miller to Cleveland to restock their farm system with top prospects.
Because he Chapman was dealt midseason, New York would not lose a draft pick if it signs him
“We have been pursuing Aroldis Chapman. We also have been talking to Kenley Jansen,” Cashman said. “Our preference is to retain the pick, if possible. It doesn’t mean it’s going to play out that way, but that’s our preference.”
New York figures to let Luis Severino, Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa and Chad Green compete for two rotation spots behind Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda.
“I think it’s less likely that we wind up with a starter. It’s a tough market to be finding one in it,” Cashman said.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)