Yankees: With all the young talent, who would be the veteran presence?

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees, coming into the 2017 season, were faced with not only a young team but the overarching question of who were they going to get to fill the role of clubhouse veteran?  The decision to elect Matt Holliday has paid off tremendously.

The Yankees answered this question during the off-season when they signed Holliday to a one-year $13 million contract.  With the loss of Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter as veterans in the lineup, this was a sigh of relief for the Bronx faithful.

Holliday has been a perennial all-star throughout his 13-year career.  He spent time with the Rockies, Athletics, and Cardinals before finally joining the Yankees in 2017.  Holliday has a career batting average of .302 with 307 home runs, 2,044 hits, and 1,190 RBI’s.  His statistics show him to be one of the most consistent players of his generation.

Leading By Example

The Yankees were uncertain on how Holliday would take to playing for a big market team after his signing.  Holliday has so far answered those questions by batting .271 with 12 home runs, and 37 RBI’s through 52 games this season.  This is exactly the kind of production the Yankees were hoping for when they signed the veteran.

When a veteran player like Holliday performs like this, the younger players on the team take note.  Baseball players have a funny way of rubbing off on their teammates.  I think that the Yankees new young “core” is feeding off of how Holliday plays the game.

More from Yanks Go Yard

His game has certainly been a positive influence for players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Greg Bird.  Just to have a player like Holliday to look up to and be able to talk to is something special in an organization.

There is just no way around it, Holliday plays the game the way it was supposed to be played.  He has been in and around the league for 13 years, and he knows the game both inside and out.

The younger players can truly benefit from this old dog’s tricks.  Holliday doesn’t stop there.  He also works both mentally and physically on his skills every day to improve his game.

Yankees Manager, Joe Girardi, had this to say in a recent interview with the NY Daily News:

"“I’d heard so many great things about him, but having never been around him before I think he’s a good leader. I think he’s very inviting for players to come talk to, I think he’s very level-headed. He’s just a really good person, and I think our guys look up to him. He hits the ball hard, too.”"

This is just a small testament to the way people feel about Holliday in Major League Baseball.

Like Paul O’Neill

In another interview with NJ.com, Girardi said,

"“Every at-bat is like his [Holliday’s] last at-bat,” Girardi said. “I love that attitude. That was the attitude that Paul O’Neill brought every day. He might not be as demonstrative when he makes an out, but you know when he makes an out and I love it.”"

When anybody is getting a comparison to Paul O’Neill, you know that he must be one of the best in the business.

Next: Yankees Montgomery proving the team made the right decision

Look for Matt Holliday to continue to be the veteran presence in the Yankees clubhouse for the rest of the season.  He was exactly what the Yankees were looking for and has lived up to every expectation.  Matt Holliday is a true class act all around.