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.
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