The Rockies have reached an agreement with Matt Holliday on a minor-league pact. Thomas Harding of MLB.com was first to report that a deal was a “distinct possibility”, while Jon Heyman of Fancred later tweeted that Holliday was going to sign the deal.
The 38-year-old veteran certainly has had a storied career, first coming up with the Rockies (and making it the World Series with them in 2007), and also playing with the Cardinals during some of their best seasons in recent memory. All told, the outfielder owns a .299/.378/.511 batting line across 14 major league seasons.
It’d be unreasonable to expect any semblance of that production this season, of course, and in fact it remains to be seen whether or not the veteran has anything left in the tank. He’s a particularly curious fit in the National League, where his outfield defense will be exposed since the Rockies won’t have the luxury of deploying him as a DH. Then again, it’s entirely possible that he’ll simply be used mostly as an extra right-handed bat off the bench.
Although his 2017 season with the Yankees was unspectacular, his .231/.316/.432 slash to go along with 19 homers in 427 plate appearances netted him a 98 wRC+, or just a tick below league average. If he’s able to replicate that alone, he could certainly be a useful weapon. But the most interesting element of his recent performance is a .267/.366/.477 slash against southpaws. That could make him a great asset in pinch-hit situations late in games, or even a viable starter against the many intimidating left-handers in division-rival rotations.
Despite interesting upside in this or a similar role, Holliday went unsigned throughout the entire offseason (though clearly he wasn’t the only casualty of a slow winter). He told reporters at the end of spring training that he still intended to continue his player career if an opportunity came up, and MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted at the time that it would almost assuredly come in the form of a minor-league deal and some reps at Triple-A, if at all. Holliday will presumably head to Albuquerque for the time being, and be recalled when and if he can get into game shape.