New York Yankees designated hitter Matt Holliday hasn’t done his team any favors since returning from the disabled list, and it’s time for manager Joe Girardi to bench him for somebody else.
Holliday is batting a disappointing .232 with 16 home runs and 51 RBI on the year. The 37-year-old missed a few weeks in both June and July with what was described as a viral infection and has not been the same player since returning, hitting just .142, his only significant hit a 9th inning game-tying home run in what was eventually a 16-inning win over the Boston Red Sox.
Something has to change, but what?
Who takes over at DH?
Benching Holliday is easier said than done as the Yankees don’t really have many options as to who would assume his spot in the everyday lineup.
Or do they? Keep in mind that veteran outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been relegated to reserve duty after breakout campaigns from Aaron Hicks and rookie Clint Frazier, and his being a left-handed bat automatically raises his value under these circumstances.
Yes, Ellsbury is only hitting .248 with four home runs and 18 RBI on the year, but he is a player who needs consistent opportunities to be effective. Give him the chance to be the everyday DH, and he should gradually improve as he gets his wheels under him yet again.
Then there is the seemingly forgotten Hicks, who has been out since late June with an oblique strain. The switch-hitter has just started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 1 for 3 in five innings yesterday, and was also having a career season prior to hitting the DL.
Hicks started the year as the Yankees’ everyday center fielder and was hitting .290 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI at the time of his injury while posting an OBP of .398. Those aren’t superstar numbers by any stretch, but that Hicks was getting on base by ways other than the home run says something about how far he has come after a disappointing 2016.
The same cannot be said about Holliday who, unlike Hicks, is in the twilight of his career. He had two hits in the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, but that probably had something to do with him hitting starter Anibal Sanchez well in his career. That effort was then followed up by an 0 for 4 effort in a tough 2-0 loss.
What about waivers?
There’s also the possibility that the Yankees could place Holliday on waivers, and the fact that his contract expires at the end of the year makes him an attractive option for teams in need of an extra bat.
Unfortunately, such a move would be a waste on New York’s end. Holliday can barely play the field anymore and is best suited as a DH on an American League squad needing a boost, like the Tampa Bay Rays or Seattle Mariners. Neither team, however, will likely pick him up. The Rays just acquired Lucas Duda from the New York Mets to serve the same purpose while Seattle is set with Nelson Cruz at DH.
Thus, if the Yankees are to keep Holliday for the year, better to bench him now or when Hicks returns. Unless he solves his problems at the plate, the Yankees need someone more productive than him in the DH slot.
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