All 1663 of Matt Holliday’s career games in the majors have come in left field or DH, but the veteran is getting some time at first base, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). Holliday’s offseason workouts at first were initially reported by Heyman in December, as Holliday is hoping to extend his career by adding some positional versatility. Quad injuries limited Holliday to just 73 games in 2015 but he has been an extremely productive and usually durable player over his six-plus years with the Cardinals, and he tells Heyman that he hopes to remain in St. Louis “as long as possible.” The Cards will face a decision in the fall about whether to exercise their $17MM club option on Holliday for 2017 or buy him out for $1MM, though the 36-year-old could cause the option to vest with a top-10 finish in MVP voting. Here’s some more about other prominent outfield names…
- Josh Hamilton is visiting Dr. James Andrews’ clinic to get what is being termed as a second opinion on his left knee, which led Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News to rhetorically and somewhat ominously wonder “what was the first opinion?” Hamilton has undergone two knee surgeries in the last six months and another procedure could be an option to relieve the knee soreness and pain that has continued to plague the outfielder. The Rangers were already known to be looking for outfield depth, but if Hamilton isn’t healthy enough to manage even the platoon role that the team had laid out for him, Grant figures Texas might pursue a regular left fielder rather than a backup center fielder. The Rangers might also be forced to give such a player a Major League contract if he’s getting regular playing time.
- Alejandro De Aza finds himself in the unusual position of having just signed with a new team as a free agent but immediately facing trade speculation, yet the maybe temporary Mets outfielder told reporters (including ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin) that he was just focusing on preparing for the upcoming season. The Mets’ surprising re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes created a surplus in New York’s outfield, and De Aza could already be the odd man out. He cannot be traded without his permission until June 15, though this may not be an issue if De Aza wants more playing time elsewhere. The Rangers have notably been linked to De Aza in trade rumors, pending the Hamilton situation.
- Shane Victorino is yet another name on the Rangers’ list but Texas is reportedly only interested in signing him to a minor league contract. Victorino is still holding out for a Major League deal, however, and SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets, that the veteran outfielder could find such a contract within the next few days. (Again, Hamilton’s health could be a factor if the Rangers remained interested in Victorino’s services.) On Monday, Yahoo’s Tim Brown tweeted that the Cubs seem like a fit for Victorino, who would fill a reserve role in Chicago.
- Angel Pagan admitted to reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that he “was a little surprised” by the Giants’ signing of Denard Span. “It’s not like I was mad, but I had to sit down with my family and explore what was going on and accept it and move on,” Pagan said. With Span on board, Pagan will spend most of his time in left field, and while he admits it’ll be an adjustment not being a regular center fielder, “I’m just being unselfish to make that move. I just want to be able to provide the best I can to this team.” Pagan is a free agent himself this coming offseason, so 2016 will be an important platform for him to rebound from three injury-plagued seasons and potentially earn another lucrative contract.