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Holliday wants to play for the New York Yankees

Oct 22, 2009, 9:15 AM EDT

SI’s Jon Heyman hears from one of Matt Holliday’s friends that Holliday has the Yankees at the top of his list.

Which is interesting.  On the one hand, Holliday thrived in (a) the N.L.; and (b) in small markets, and there is this sense out there, justified or not, that he’s not the sort of player you could just plug into New York and expect him to shine.  On the other hand, the Yankees (a) will have an opening in left field if they let Damon walk and Holliday would fit it well; and (b) they almost always always always go after the top free agent in a given year.  As Heyman himself notes, the last time they didn’t do that was when Carlos Beltran was dangling in the winter of 2004-05.

Heyman handicaps the Holliday field as well, and I more or less agree with his comments on all of the contenders.  Not sure if it’s a ranking or just a listing, but if it’s a ranking he has the Dodgers way too high at number 2, because I really can’t see Manny not exercising his option.  The Braves at number 8 are an intriguing option, simply because they fit what seems like the Holliday mold (N.L., less-intense market) and because they have a glaring need and the ability to spend a little money, assuming they don’t sign Hudson or if they manage to somehow trade off Derek Lowe.

While all of that is interesting, I’m trying to figure out how that sourcing for this story works from a practical angle.  Does Heyman stalk Holliday, figure out who his friends are and then secretly get quotes from them without Holliday’s knowledge, or does Holliday and/or his agent orchestrate this, putting a “friend” with Heyman so it doesn’t look like Holliday is out lobbying the Yankees directly?  Probably doesn’t matter, but I’m going to assume that this is Holliday and his people planting this in an effort to dispel the notion that Holliday is an N.L. only, small market-only kind of guy, and to make the Yankees a credible bargaining tool as he enters the market.

  1. Old Gator - Oct 22, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    No doubt about it. Come negotiating time, Matt Holliday will be made Borg. If they want the country boy to feel comfortable in the Bronx, they can always set up a sheik’s tent for him in Van Cortlandt Park.

  2. Alex K - Oct 22, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    RE: The sourcing for the article
    Couldn’t it be a friend/former teammate? Maybe the guy didn’t want his name out there.
    But you’re probably right. It’s most likely someone paid to talk to Heyman.

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 22, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    I’m not suggesting someone was paid. Just that Holliday was well aware that his “friend” was talking to Heyman. Maybe it was a former teammate, but usually you see guys like that identified as “a teammate” or “a former teammate.” “Friend” just kind of stuck out to me.

  4. Cards Fan - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    MATT – TELL ME IT AIN’T SO . . .

  5. stargatebabe - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    From a CARDS fan – Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Holliday!

  6. lar @ wezen-ball - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    Craig, I’m surprised. Are you forgetting the Holliday/Boras, Boras/Heyman connection, or are you purposely not going that route? Because it seems pretty obvious to me…

  7. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    That was intentional, Lar. I’m still not quite sure what to make of their relationship — it would certainly explain a lot here — but I’ve had some conversations with people who are in a position to know who have suggested that the “Heyman is a Boras shill” idea is a massive oversimplificaton that is not 100% fair to Heyman.
    I’ve made the conscious decision this winter to watch what Jon writes and says about Boras clients, and what happens with Boras clients, before I resume beating that drum.

  8. Yankee fan in Boston - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    Isn’t Matt Holliday’s agent Scott Boras? if so this is Boras’ ploy to drum up the market for his client. Doubtful that the Yankees will sign him. They prefer someone who can now ” fit” into the NY team. Look at them this year- they have players aho are performing well.

  9. Ed Ott - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    It’s time for a salary cap. When the Yankees win 125 games next year, many fans, including me in Boston, will be losing interest in the game.
    And now the Sox ( flops ) are talking about bringing old Johnny Damon back. How boring does it get?
    That 500 plus game sellout streak at Fenway will be ending next year. The only chance the Sox have to compete in the future will be to build a new 60,000 seat stadium outside of downtown Boston. They could sell an extra millon tickets a year, increase their payroll by 100 million, and any fan would be able to get tickets on a regular basis.

  10. MLBFAN - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    Drop a fly ball and cost the Yanks a playoff game, and you’ll be singing I’M LEAVING ON A JET PLANE! LOL

  11. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 22, 2009 at 10:58 AM

    Not sure how he wouldn’t “fit in” with the current yanks. Doesn’t seem to cause any problems, no attitude issues I can remember reading about.
    However, to Craig:

    On the one hand, Holliday thrived in (a) the N.L.; and

    Holliday was the best hitter on the A’s last year and hit very well after a bad April. The only player with a 120 OPS+ (125). Next closest was Rajai Davis at 112.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/OAK/2009.shtml
    April – .240/.293/.440
    May – .291/.476/.524
    June – .280/.410/.560
    July – .338/.485/.721 (SSS alert)

  12. Rich - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:05 AM

    Hitting the pitching in the NL west and the NL central for 70% + of the time is not like hitting the pitching in the AL east….

  13. Alex K - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    Sorry about that Craig. I didn’t mean to imply that you meant someone was getting paid. Bad word choice by me.

  14. alejandro gonzalez - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    ill take holliday over manny any day please leave the dodgers manny please you stunk it up this year caused a major distraction all season with your drug habit and its time to go back to your country please thats all i want for christmas

  15. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    “Back to your country”? You realize that Manny is from New York, right?

  16. Dinero - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:40 AM

    I’m not sold on this guy, as a Yankee fan I’m not for this move.

  17. ed1935 - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Bay will be in left field for the yankees next year. Damon will end up in KC where he started.

  18. Grant - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    Well…many both inside and outside New York seem to think of it as somehow very separate from the rest of the U.S., so, y’know…
    Nah, just kidding. Alejandro was being ignorant.

  19. ED1935 - Oct 22, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    Baseball right now is just like poker who ever has the most money wins.
    The Yankees have the most money.
    If the Yankees kill the Phil’s then that will be the beginning of the end of baseball.
    Not too many states will build new ballparks for their teams in this economy.

  20. AJ - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    I’m strongly subscribing to the theory that this is dirtbag Scott Boras’ deliberate intention to play the Yankees card in order to drive up the price with whomever in the National League wants to bid for Matt Holliday. What he does is give everyone the impression that the Yankees may be involved in any bidding war for a player, so if there’s a NL team seriously interested in Holliday, i.e., the Atlanta Braves, they’ll need to ante up in order to sign him. Anytime the Yankees are even perceived to be involved or interested in a player causes the bidding to go up. Boras has done this many times before. This kind of news “leak” happens any time he’s involved in any negotiation.

  21. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    I’m not sold on this guy, as a Yankee fan I’m not for this move.

    It entirely depends on the $ and length of contract. 3-4 years in the $15-18M range is justifiable for him. He’s been worth $32M, $28M, and $25M according to fangraphs for the last three full years. Anything longer than 4 and you hit his (eventual) decline phase.
    He’s also a far better fielder than most give him credit for. His three year UZR is 14.2, 9.1 and 5.3. But he’d be a huge upgrade defensively over Damon who has had one positive UZR since ’02.
    See my comment above for how well he hit in the AL.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1873&position=OF#value

  22. Will - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:40 PM

    Perhaps what Alejandro meant was that Manny should go back to his own planet.

  23. Kevin S. - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    You’re right. Lincecum is better than any pitcher in the AL East, and Cain, Billingsley, Webb, Haren, Scherzer, Kershaw, Peavy (when he was there), Oswalt, Rodriguez, Gallardo, and Zambrano are no slouches.

  24. Thadeus - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    Craig, Manny is not from New York. I think it’s one of the Jupiter moons that he hails from. He is WAY OUT there.

  25. ofus - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    interesting that no one points out that Boras is also Damon’s agent. Shall we cut all the BS and just make Ole’ Scott the Commish?

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