Holliday better fit than Encarnacion for in-between Yanks

Matt Holliday makes perfect sense for the New York Yankees. He is an in-between free-agent acquisition for an in-between team.

Will he be good in 2017? Who knows? Will the Yankees be good in 2017? No one knows that, either. But if Holliday is solid, it could be a big lift for this bridge year as the Yankees try to reload and rebuild toward 2019, which is when the Yankees' next "uber" (trademark, Brian Cashman) team might be ready to add Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado and others.

For now, though, the Yankees have a starting staff with question marks, a bullpen that is incomplete and a lineup that is becoming younger and maybe better but is very much an unknown.

That is why it was always hard to imagine Edwin Encarnacion ending up in pinstripes. While Holliday received a one-year, $13 million contract, Encarnacion will probably end up with four or five seasons. By the end of that contract, Encarnacion, 33, could very well be ineffective, like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira were at the conclusions of their long contracts. The Yankees have been there, done that.

Carlos Beltran would have been a better fit because he is a a better player. While Beltran will be 40 next season and Holliday will be 37, Holliday has not aged as well.

Holliday has not been great the past two seasons. He has appeared in only 183 games total, hitting just 24 homers and driving in 97. His OPS of .792 isn't too bad. Clearly, his best days are behind him. He still could help as the team's DH, and he could provide outfield depth.

Most importantly, Holliday does not clog up the payroll. The Yankees took a flier on him this year, in a season in which they will not drop under the luxury tax threshold. That very well could happen next winter. With CC Sabathia's $25 million, Rodriguez's $21 million and Holliday's $13 million, among others, the Yankees will have plenty of money to work with when those contracts come off the books.

Meanwhile, many of the youngsters they traded for over the past five months will, in theory, be major league-ready or closer to it. When that happens, the Yankees will be prepared to outspend everyone again.

Right now, they know where they stand. They are an in-between team making in-between signings.