I know that it’s really early to start talking about this, but I started to wonder where Matt Holliday will sign next offseason.
Yankees (frontrunners) If my estimation is correct, the Yankees will have 158 million committed on their 2010 team unless they sign a free agent to a multiyear deal this offseason. Lets say that they’ll put their payroll in the 200 – 210 million dollar range. That would leave 42 – 52 million left to spend. The outfield corners and designated hitter look like the only holes. Holliday is the best player available in the outfield, and I’m sure that the Yanks will go all-in to try to lock up this great slugger.
Red Sox (frontrunners) They’ll pursue him partly because the Yankees are in on him, but also because they would love to add Holliday to their ball club. The BoSox inquired on him while he was with the Rockies, because they thought he would be the perfect Red Sox player. Jason Bay is a free agent, opening up a hole in left field. I’m not sure if the Red Sox would like to make record breaking contracts back-to-back years, so I don’t think the BoSox will go all-out in order to sign Holliday if they already have Mark Teixeira. If Tex goes elsewhere, look for Boston to go hard after Holliday.
Angels (frontrunners) This is pretty much the same thing as with the Red Sox. If the Angels sign Tex this offseason, they’re less likely to sign Matt Holliday next offseason. If Holliday goes somewhere else, the Angels are a big player for Matt. A lot of money should be opened up when John Lackey’s, Kelvim Escobar’s and Vladimir Guerrero contracts end. With “Vlad the Bad” not so “bad” anymore, the Halos could always look at the younger Holliday. Matt makes a lot of sense for their club if Teixeira isn’t signed first.
Dodgers (possible) If Manny Ramirez doesn’t resign in Dodger Blue, the other LA team could decide to go after Matt Holliday. I don’t know if they’ll be willing to go past the limits for Holliday the way the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels probably will. This remains a possibility, however.
Cardinals (slim chance) I named them because I think they have a chance to sign Holliday, even if it is a slim chance. They aggressively pursued him in trade talks with the Rockies, and were reportedly close to an agreement. If they did aquire Holliday, they would like to talk extension with him. So that could possibly mean that they would be willing to fork over the 200 million+ that would be necessary to sign Matt. I just don’t think that a mid-market team like the Cards would be willing to pay at least a fifth of their payroll on one player. The above mentioned teams are much more likely.
Nationals (dark horse) They’re aggressively pursuing Mark Teixeira this year, and that leads me to believe that they could do the same with Holliday if Tex signs elsewhere. Remember, they were in trade talks with the Rockies if a window for an extension would be granted. I think that means that they would be willing to offer the 200 million+ it would take to sign him. They might be outbid by the larger market clubs like the Yanks and Red Sox, but I think that they’ll throw a pretty high number in front of Holliday’s face.
The A’s have traded for Matt Holliday. Wow! This one is a real shock to me. I mean, I didn’t even know they were even in the bidding for him. They were just sellers, and now all of a sudden they become buyers. I thought the A’s would continue selling off parts, but I guess they want to go for it in 2009. For Holliday, they traded Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith. In my opinion, the A’s did a decent job. I’d probably give them a B because they lost a great outfield prospect and will probably miss the playoffs even with Holliday. I give the Rockies an A because they got a huge return for just one year of Holliday. Carlos Gonzalez is a stud prospect that could become a player only a little worse than Holliday. Huston Street could become their next closer, replacing Brian Fuentes. If they would rather give the job to Taylor Buchholz or Manny Corpas, Street could become trade bait for a starter. Greg Smith is more of a throw in, but he adds depth to the rotation. having him out there instead of Glendon Rusch should make a big difference. The Rockies still need to add some pitching, though. Now that about 8 million is off the books, maybe the Rox will pursue a veteran starter via free agency. Derek Lowe could make sense because he’s a ground ball pitcher. So you wouldn’t have to overpay for him. They might again have to look at trades. Like I stated before, Street could be flipped to a different team for an arm. Maybe even combine him with a player such as Garret Atkins for a top-of-the-rotation starter. I know some people will think that Atkins will be off the block because of Holliday being moved; they’ll want to keep a big bat in there. But Ian Stewart still is without a position if they keep Garret. I think they trade Atkins even though Holliday is gone. Full seasons of Gonzalez and Stewart will make up for his production. The A’s might enter the free agent picture also. They showed that they will try to contend next year by trading for Holliday. They do have 30-35 million to spend if they are willing to raise payroll to 80 million. You’d think that they would be in the market for left side of the infield help. Rafeal Furcal could become a prime target. Casey Blake and Joe Crede could become possible third basemen aquisitions for their team. If they want to, they could even add another big bat like Prince Fielder. Imagine Prince Fielder and Matt Holliday together in a lineup that already features Jack Cust and possibly Rafael Furcal. With that kind of team and with various young players preforming well, they could rival the Angels for the AL East. If they can’t catch them, the wild card is an option. The Rockies might be able to compete in the weak NL West. Overall I like this trade a lot for both teams, but the Rockies definatly won it.
Tracy Ringolsby and Joe Strauss talked to Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak here and here. Both are reporting that the Matt Holliday trade to the Cardinals is dead. I’m kind of confused on this one; it would’ve given the Cards a big bat to put behind Albert Pujols in the lineup. Some might argue the price is too high, but Ludwick is the only needed player. Schumaker wasn’t needed with Holliday coming in, and Mitchell Boggs was just a throw in. One reason could have been payroll. With Holliday slated to earn 13.5 million in ’09, the Cardinals would be left with only 6.5 million to spend. With big holes in the middle infield and the bullpen, it might be smarter to keep Ludwick and spend the money to fill those holes. The other reason might be that they think the improvement of Holliday over Ludwick wasn’t so great. A case could be made that Orlando Hudson would have a bigger impact replacing Adam Kennedy than Holliday replacing Ludwick. Plus, Holliday would be a rental while Ludwick and Hudson would be under contract for a long time. So when you look at it that way, it makes sense to decline that trade and use the money on middle infield and/or bullpen help. The Rockies will continue shopping Holliday, but there are no good suitors left. One dark horse is the Nationals. If they are willing to offer Mark Teixera 10 years, 200 million, then they could pursue a trade for Holliday. A window for an extension would be necessary, however. That way they could offer Holliday some insane 10 year offer and lock him up instead of Tex. Another possibility is the Red Sox. If they were willing to trade Mike Lowell, move Kevin Youkilis to third base, and move Jason Bay to first base, Holliday would become an option. I don’t know if Bay would be willing to go to first base, though. This seems as a sort of far fetched idea, but so does the Nationals idea. There are no good fits for Holliday now that the Cardinals are out.
The Cardinals and Phillies have surfaced as frontrunners for Matt Holliday. I recently wrote about the Cardinals situation. Additionly, they are offering a package of Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker and Mitchell Boggs. This package is very strong, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Rox accept. Ludwick could play left field replacing Holliday, and Schumaker could share center field with Ryan Spilborhgs, replacing Willy Taveres if dealt. (which is very likely, especially if this trade goes down) The Cardinals open up two spots in the outfield corners by trading Ludwick and Schumaker. Holliday takes left, Ankiel moves to right, and top prospect Colby Rasmus takes over in center. I really like this trade a lot for both teams.
The Phillies are very interested as well. They can offer a lot, but not as much as the Cardinals. The Phils package would be Carlos Carrasco, Greg Golson, Joe Savery, and Lou Marson. This package is not very enticing to the Rox, however. Dextor Fowler is just as good as Golson is. Chris Iannetta is better than Lou Marson. Carrasco and Savery add depth, but you don’t trade Matt Holliday for just depth. I don’t see the Phillies working a deal out.
So both the Cardinals and Phillies are very aggresive in these trade talks. But the Cards have the undoubted lead.
The Rockies are motivated to trade Matt Holliday. There isn’t a perfect fit for Matt, but several teams should still have interest. I did a player market for Holliday here. The Rockies prefer proven starting pitching, but are open to anything. One team that has emerged as a legitimate possiblity is the Cardinals. Yes, I know people consider them to have a surplus of outfielders. However, this is the best spot to add a big bat since there aren’t many power middle infielders around let alone available. It is unlikely the Cards would include top prospect Colby Rasmus, and they don’t have much prospect wise after him. Bryan Anderson has a lot of value, but the Rox already have a good catcher in Chris Ianetta. They would probably need to get another team involved. How about this three team trade between the Yankees, Cardinals, and Rockies…
Cardinals get: Matt Holliday
Yankees get: Garret Atkins, Rick Ankiel, Bryan Anderson
Rockies get: Robinson Cano, Ian Kennedy, Alan Horne, Chris Perez
I like this deal a lot. The Cardinals are trading Rick Ankiel, Bryan Anderson, and Chris Perez for Matt Holliday. It’s a steep price, but they add a big slugger as well as get Albert Pujols the protection he needs. So it makes Pujols a better player also. The Yankees greatly help out their offense. They get to DH Jorge Posada now that Bryan Anderson is with the club. They also fill the first base and center field holes with Ankiel and Atkins. The team loses a good second baseman, but they can always just sign Orlando Hudson to take his place. The Rockies are getting a very good deal as well. They lose their top two sluggers, but fill their hole at second base with a player that could easily rebound. Especially in that park. Chris Perez gives them a great late inning option, replacing Brian Fuentes. Ian Kennedy and Alan Horne are two decent back-of-the-rotation options. I know this is unlikely, but I think it makes a lot of sense.
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The Rockies are likely to entertain offers for Matt Holliday this winter. Lets take a look at some teams that could be interested.
Rockies (frontrunner) There is no clear fit for Holliday, making it likely that he stays put this winter. It seems as though teams would be more willing to sign a Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, or Pat Burrell before trading top prospects for Holliday. I think he stays.
Rays (possible) If the Rays miss out on the big free agent targets named above then Holliday makes sense here. They would need to be willing to part with some prospects, however. I don’t think the Rox will ask for David Price again just as they did at the trade-deadline. I think Wade Davis and Reid Brignac would definatly get a deal done unless Dan O’Dowd is still asking for the moon like he did with Holliday and Brian Fuentes at the trade-deadline. I don’t know if the Rays would do that deal, either.
Angels (possible) The Angels are a possible destination if they miss out on Mark Teixera and maybe even if they bring back Tex. Nick Adenhart could be available and maybe Adenhart plus Sean Rodriguez = Matt Hoilliday. I think the Angels would do that move. The time for the Rockies to make that trade was July 28, 2008, however, because the Angels might of even offered more and gotten Holliday instead of Teixera. A deal still could be worked out, though.
Yankees (possible) The Yankees could pull off a trade for Holliday. If they let Bobby Abreu walk they could move Xavier Nady to right which opens up a run at Holliday to play left field. They would have to offer Phil Hughes or Austin Jackson, however. The Yankees seem to want to keep Jackson and make him their every-day center fielder at some point next year or in 2010 worst case scenerio. Hughes seems more likely, but that doesn’t mean they’ll move him. The Rockies would jump at a chance to get either, though, and you never know what Hank Steinbrenner will order Brian Cashman to do.
Phillies (possible) This might not happen becasue the Phillies don’t have much young talent. They would have to give up the entire farm to get him and that might not be enough. It would take a package of Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Greg Golson, and Joe Savery. This would kill the system, and I’m not sure they would want to do that for a rentall. They might not be able to afford it, either, unless they make a Ryan Howard trade and that doesn’t make a lot of sense unless they get a great offer. I don’t know if the Rox would even take that. They have a better center field prospect, better catcher, and get only 2 good, not great, pitching prospects.
Nationals (slim chance) It has been stated that the Nats could make a huge offer to the Rox and then ask for a 72 hour negotiation clause. Then they would offer him a major deal and get him to sign an extension with them. This doesn’t make much sense to me because A) Holliday will almost definatly want to test the free agent market unless he gets Scott Boras’ crazy demands in the extension. And B) Why don’t the Nats just keep their young talent and make this monster offer in the offseason of next year. I doubt this happens and if they’re even interested, Jim Bowden needs to be fired right away.
Royals (slim chance) They too are not likely for the same reasons the Nationals aren’t. But, since they are a possibility I will metion them.
Blue Jays (Dark Horse) This would be if my wild trade thought happens. I don’t think it’s likely, but that’s why they are a dark horse and not a favorite. You can see what I think about a possible aquisition in the link.