Assessing the Matt Holliday rumors

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We’re starting to hear the whispers now, but as we approach the end of the season and gear up for the Winter Meetings, Matt Holliday is a name we’ll hear often. Perhaps there won’t be a Santana-esque situation surrounding the left fielder, but it will certainly garner considerable attention. The Rockies might want to sell Holliday, who will make $13.5 million in 2009 before reaching free agency, while they can still get something for him, rather than just take the two draft picks.

Last year, we saw the Twins pretty desperate to unload Santana before the start of Spring Training. While he denied everything, rumors swirled that the lefty ace would deny any possible mid-season trade. Holliday has no such leverage. If the Rockies don’t get a huge offer in the off-season, they could hold onto Holliday in hopes of dealing him in July. We saw some decent bounties for mid-season trades this year, and the Rockies surely know that. Plus, hanging onto Holliday gives them their best chance of competing in 2009.

Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post comments on the situation today. He leads with the Boston-Anaheim series, noting that both might be contenders for Holliday. Why the Sox would be mentioned, I don’t know, since they have their corner outfielders in place for 2009: Jason Bay and J.D. Drew. Renck notes that if Bay flops in the playoffs they could look to trade him for Holliday, but that’s something I just don’t envision. Plus, with his bomb of a homer last night, it might be a moot point anyway. Yet even if he flops, I’m 99.9 percent sure that Theo wouldn’t go trading Bay, due $7.5 million next year before reaching free agency, and someone like Clay Buchholz for Holliday. Doesn’t make much sense at all.

Renck brings the Yankees into the fold, mentioning speculation of a Hughes/Cano for Holliday swap. We’ve heard this before, and again I’ll note that it doesn’t make much sense. If Cano returns to even his 2006 levels he could be more valuable than Holliday. This is considering his position, which is at more of a premium than Holliday’s, his age, and his contract. To add Hughes to that deal, who will be under team control for quite some time to come, doesn’t make sense at all. Why trade two cost-controlled players for a guy with one year to go until free agency?

What troubles me about Holliday is that many are basing their desire for him on his stellar 2007 campaign, when he put up a line of .340/.405/.607. Anyone would want that kind of production, of course. Yet his home/road splits that year were quite pronounced: 1.157 OPS at home vs. .860 on the road. He improved his road OPS in 2008, .896, but as expected fell off at home, .963. So it’s not that he can’t hit on the road. Rather, it’s that his home numbers have been the cause of much of the hype surrounding him.

While I wouldn’t be opposed to adding Holliday, it doesn’t seem the price will be right this winter. By adding him, you’re subtracting your starting second baseman and a potential part of your rotation. You’re also adding a ton of payroll, both by presumably signing Holliday to an extension (which is no guarantee with Boras at the helm) and by going after Orlando Hudson to replace Cano. As down as some are on Cano and Hughes, I just can’t see anyone really justifying such a swap.

Sublett finally returns from injury
Rays White Sox ALDS Game 1
  • Adam

    holliday had a 89 OPS+ on the road last year. ’nuff said.

    • Accent Shallow

      I think you’re misunderstanding the stats here. According to the link under my name (Holliday’s baseball reference page), his tOPS+ this past year on the road was 89. While that sounds lousy, tOPS+ isn’t his OPS relative to league, it’s his OPS relative to his overall line — of course it’s less than 100, since he’s a worse hitter on the road than he is at home.

      His road sOPS+ (relative to league) this past year was 145. Sounds fine to me.

      Doesn’t mean I’d trade Cano and Hughes for him.

    • B

      If the Yanks are gonna make a trade with the Rockies. I would rather see them try to get Atkins to play 1b. Not Holiday.

  • radnom

    Agree 100% with everything here, but one point was left out…..why would we trade for a LF anyway? If there is one position that is a glut on this team, that is it.

  • Mike A.

    Why quality young players for him now when you can just sign him as a FA next year, if he’s such a must have? And besides, the last thing the Yanks need is another no-defend left fielder.

    • TurnTwo

      isnt this what was said for Johan last year and in justifying the deserve to instead attempt to get Sabathia?

      and now, we could end up with neither and a crappy, patchwork pitching staff for 2009.

      i’m not saying overpay… Hughes and Cano is too much.

      but one or the other i think is reasonable.

      i kind of see Cano being used as a centerpiece for a pitcher like Peavy, and maybe Hughes as a centerpiece for Holliday.

      optimistic, yeah. but there’s time for reality later.

      • Bo

        So they’ll gut the system and every good young player for 2 guys?

        Cashman doesnt operate that way.

        For better or worse. He wont part with premium young guys for vets. As the Santana thing showed last yr. He’d rather bid on FA’s than part with money plus prospects.

  • Adam

    teixeira + cano + hughes – 1st rounder – $$$ > holliday – $$

    • Joseph P.

      Was just talking about that with Mike. Why not just go hard after Teixeira? He’s proven he can play in places other than Colorado, and they’re the same age.

      • steve (different one)

        i think they will.

        • TurnTwo

          same here. especially now that the Sabathia rumors going around dont sound as optimistic.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Agreed wholeheartedly. Why give up talent for something we can get just as easily giving up only money. Holliday is not as good of a hitter as Tex, in any event.

        And, if we miss out on Tex (or if he’s never made available in the first place), I’d still rather keep Cano and Hughes and just go buy one of the Manny/Dunn/Burrell options instead.

    • radnom

      You have (- $$) on both sides of your equation. You can just go ahead and cancel those out.

      • Joseph P.

        Well, you can cancel out two on each side. Notice the third $ on the left side.

  • Chris

    A fair trade for Holliday seems to me about what we gave up for Nady. He’d obviously be a nice player to add, but I can’t understand why anyone would consider a huge blockbuster deal for him.

    • TurnTwo

      yeah, agreed, given the circumstances of contract and salary around him.

      actually, why not offer Nady as a part of a package?

  • Patrick T

    Reading between the lines of what Cash said yesterday, and parsing through the rumors that we hear trickling through, I’ve drawn these conclusions about the Yanks offseason (Note: This is not my opinion on what they should do, rather its my observation on what I think they want to do.)

    1. They are not adding any more no defense players, no way is Holliday coming. And as a second note on Holliday, Cashman has been pretty obvious in saying he’s not interested in paying twice for players. Both Johan and C.C. were turned down because you’d have to pay prospects AND rewrite a new deal for them. Its just not good value.
    2. Cano is definitely on the market, but I suspect only for another young player. The Kemp rumors fit this philosophy, the Holliday rumor does not.
    3. Hughes is going nowhere. If the deal requires Hughes, it won’t happen.
    4. Kennedy is probably also on the market.
    5. Teixiera is a far more likely signing than Sabathia. I think Cashman sees a 7 year deal for an agile 1B as a better risk than a 7 year deal for a fat pitcher.
    6. They will add a pitcher, but it will either be via trade, or a downballot guy, like Lowe.

    So, to sum, this rumor has no chance, IMHO.

    • Reggie C.

      I think the latest of news Padres GM Towers announcing that NO ONE on the roster is untouchable will put your #3 point to test. Peavy is under contract for another FOUR years. He’s only 27 years old and doesnt have much abuse on his arm ’cause well … SD is a bottom dwelling team.

      Put Hughes on the table for Jake Peavy. Its worth it.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        And Hughes for Peavy is worth considering, yes. Problem is, while it’s true that Peavy is on the table, it will take much, much, much more than Hughes to make that deal happen. More along the lines of Hughes, Cano, one of the other young jewels of our system (AJax, Melancon, Betances, or Montero) and probably one or two more secondary minor league talents.

        Peavy would be the youngest ace on the market since Josh Beckett, and he’s better and more cost controlled than Beckett was at the time, so the price would be higher. And the Beckett price of Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez was HIGH.

        It’s worth some sniffs, but ultimately I doubt it. What the Padres ask for for Peavy will be much bigger than what the Twins were asking for for Santana. And unlike Santana, the Peavy sweepstakes won’t be limited to three teams.

        • 27 this year

          Beckett was not an ace when put on the market and Hanley was not a premier prospect. A better comparison is that you would have to trump the D-backs offer in terms of prospects. They gave up six prospects. We don’t need to give up six but the prospects certainly would have to be good. Way better than the Bedard package adn quite a bit better than the Haren package. Remember, his contract is like 15 mil for the next four years.

          • JimT

            Hanley was indeed a top prospect. He was viewed as the Red Sox top prospect over others such as Pedroia, Lester, Lowerie et all. There was a huge split amoung the Red Sox management about trading Hanley.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos

              Hanley Ramirez was the 10th best prospect in ALL OF BASEBALL at the time of the trade, according to Baseball America.

              And Beckett was a 25 year old power pitching former #2 overall draft pick coming off three straight sub-4.00 ERA seasons averaging nearly a K per inning with dominant postseason shutouts already under his belt.

              If you think that Hanley Ramirez, who scouts were predicting multiple MVPs for, or Josh Beckett, who has been compared to Roger Clemens since he was a teenager, weren’t “a premier prospect” or “an ace”, then I don’t know what league you’ve been following, but it isn’t the MLB. I think you’re confusing this with cricket.

  • jsbrendog


  • Manimal

    What would it take to get Nate the Great McClouth.

    • TurnTwo

      all the Diet Coke in Queens.

    • Joseph P.

      I don’t understand the appeal in him.

      • Leo

        He had two massive months that make people forget about his two horrible months.

    • troy

      Amen, Can we please concentrate on our real areas of need, SP RF, and 1B?

      • Bo

        And having a CF who hit 200 for the first 100 games doesn’t need improving?

        I do see them filling that hole with Gardner and waiting for AJ.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          And that’s probably the best option, all things considered. There are only a few young, athletic CF’s who are good both offensively and defensively, and the teams that have them aren’t interested in trading them unless they get blown away.

          The CF hole gets filled internally. Gardner and Melky for now, AJax or possibly Jeter for later.

          • rumbleinda…

            Did you say Jeter in CF??

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  • Mike Pop

    Screw Holliday go after Tex baby !!! Try to trade for a pitcher or sign Burnett.. Thats what I think the Yanks will do

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  • Bo

    They wouldn’t go for Hughes for an ace pitcher. And they’ll trade him for an OF?

    No chance.

    I think they’ll sign Tex to man 1b for 7 years and sign Lowe and Burnett to team with Joba Wang and Andy. With Hughes in reserve as the 6th guy.

  • Baseballnation

    I think Peavy is more plausible then Sabathia coming to new york. Fair trade: Hughes/Jackson/Cervelli/ and a mid to low level guy. Obviously Hughes and Jackson are the two blue chips everyone seeks when they deal a superstar, plus Cervelli as a good third piece and a Claggett or even an edwar ramirez to fill things out.

    • Mike Pop

      That wouldnt get it done… not even close

    • Old Ranger

      No way do they trade Phil, not for anyone…no way, no how!
      CMW, Joba, Phil is a very good starting point for a dominating starting rotation. 27/09.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Not even remotely happening. No way does the Peavy deal happen without BOTH Hughes and Cano PLUS quality minor leaguers.

  • Jacob

    I’m not that high on Peavy. Great pitcher, but has spent his whole career in the NL West, there is no way to know how he will translate to pitching in the AL East, not to mention in New York. Sabathia is a much less risky proposition IMO.

    I wouldn’t mind us signing Texiara, and then using any two or maybe three (Depending on who they are) of Kennedy, Robertson, Coke, Melky, Romine, Cerevelli, Clagett, etc, for a guy like Zack Grienke.

    As long as Jackson, Melancon, Hughes, Montero aren’t included. And I wouldn’t include Cano unless you can really get a really good young player (Cain, Matt Kemp, etc…)

    I also don’t think that Derrick Lowe is a bad move. He’s pitched in the AL East, he’s a groundball pitcher and he’s not THAT old.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Again, Greinke and Peavy are both similar situations: they’re really, really good players who are the cornerstones of rebuilding teams and they’re cost-controlled.

      Neither of them will be dealt on the cheap. They’ll only be moved for 2 or 3 quality, quality players, in addition to a few other really good secondary pieces. It’s like the Dan Haren deal; they won’t move Greinke unless they can get back two or three guys who are good bets to be above average major leaguers AND one future superstar. These are young, cost controlled aces of small market teams we’re talking about. Dayton Moore has to go sell his fanbase on why he sold away the face of the future.

      Poo-poo platters of Melky, Kennedy, Claggett, and Cervelli ain’t getting it done.

  • mike g.

    holliday is awesome. average, power AND clutch. awesome. but does he play first base? nope. how would you stack the line up with another power hitting righty? damon, jeter, arod, holliday? damon, jeter, holiday, arod?

    i’m not going into the therapy sessions arod will have when someone else on the team is hitting more home runs than he is!

    i say keep nady (clutch) and do something out of the box, like go after SF Jonathan Sanchez or Houston’s Roy Oswalt. why hold on to prospects we wont use?

    and get a friggin 1st baseman with aggresive defense!!!!

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      All of this is insanity.

      • pat

        fuck me if im wrong but damon is lefty no?

        • Joseph P.

          He didn’t imply as such. he was just asking how you line up the top of the order.

    • Leo

      Roy Oswalt has a full no trade clause and hates New York City. No matter what Peter Gammons may mumble about Oswalt is not coming to the Yankees. Even if that were not the case, Drayton McLane is not going to allow him to be traded because he wants to keep up the appearance of having a team in true contention.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Roy Oswalt is also aging badly. His ERA has gone up three years in a row, and his fastball is losing life. He’s a 5’11”, 170lb power pitcher, two things that tend not to go together, and he just turned 31. It’s safe to say he may be entering a significant downslope to his career. We’d be paying an ace-like bounty of prospects for a guy who’ll probably be a #3-#4 starter at best in a year or two.


  • David Brown

    Matt Holliday is EXACTLY the guy I want on the Yankees……… in 2010. The problem with the Yankees would be the fact they do not have a left handed power hitter for next year (Assuming Abreu and Giambi leave). In fact, this is your projected lefties for 2009: Damon, Matsui, Gardner, the switch-hitting Posada, and CANO. Keeping in mind of course, Matsui’s and Damon’s contracts end after next season (Which means TWO MORE lefties gone from the lineup). Which is a major reason trading Cano would be a big MISTAKE. The guy I want is Teixiera. He is an East Coast guy, so he knows about the pressure of playing here, he is a switch hitter so they get the lefty bat for the short porch, and they get superior defense (And all it costs is $$$$$$$$ and draft picks)
    I would like Jake Peavey, and I would give them a Phil Hughes and IPK for him (I am not sure that would be enough though).

  • chris medina

    Switch Hughes with Kennedy and a third, lesser prospect and I’d do it in a heartbeat. Then sign Hudson for second. If you’re worried about the payrol increase, trade Damon for prospects and have Melky/Gardner/Jackson battle it out for the last OF spot next to Nady and Holliday.

  • http://godfather

    not that enamored of peavy, and although i don’t grip cano as firmly as i once did, the only way i’d ever ok him leaving would be were kemp to come to nyy; i like holliday but he doesn’t blend with the current furniture…the jorge/hideki/abreu/damon/giambi load needs to be lightened; i like cash’s thinking and the fact that he didn’t cave in the johan scenario despite hankenstein’s moronic view; i’m not full of phil just yet

    • gg

      with melky having no future at all and he doesnt, you must have some awfully lofty hopes of hughes to not regret that we didnt get Johan, and now, CC doesnt want to be a Yankee….SO…..lets hope Joba can become a true ace b/c right now Bean Town just might have three pitchers better than our #1

  • chris medina

    Holliday would bat third and replace Abreu.

  • Yankee1010

    People are grossly overvaluing Holliday. From 2005-2007 he had a road ops of .856 as a LF. He has one year left until Scott Boras will make sure he’s grossly overpaid as a free agent. Please stay away from him.

    • bkight13

      An .856 OPS is very good. For that to be his road OPS is impressive. ARod had a .885 road OPS this year to Holliday’s .891, so I think it is more of comfort thing than a Coors Field thing. Holliday has light-tower power, a high BA, good eye and steals bases. He is a stud.

      • Yankee1010

        It’s nothing special for a LF at all. Jack Cust had an .851 OPS this year. Do you love him?

        3B is a much more difficult defensive position and therefore offense from a 3B is far more valuable than offense from a LF. Plus, A-Rod’s career OPS dwarfs a .885 OPS.

        I’m not saying Holliday’s not good. I’m saying he’s not a stud and he’s going to be a free agent next year. Let him be someone else’s mistake. If Holliday is the big acquisition this offseason, God help us. If the Yanks are going to go after the big “names”, they better go after better ones than Holliday.

        Giving up prospects for one year of a guy who is overvalued because of Coors-inflated numbers who plays the easiest position on the defensive spectrum is not a recipe for success.

        • bkight13

          I’m not saying we should trade multiple top guys for him. I’m just noting his line compares to one of the best right hand hitters in the game. His overall numbers are outstanding and people seemed focused on one stat to try to downgrade him.

          I would prefer the Yanks sign Teixeira or Manny since it only costs $$$, but I would consider a Holiday for Cano swap. Cano is due $25m/3yrs or $54/5yrs, not exactly cheap, but fair.

  • gg

    yo this might sound ridiculous and it prob is but i dont know much about orlando hudson….the o-dog is fast and plays awesome D anyway he could do that in center?

  • Mike Pop

    u guys are nuts lol not in a bad way but we want to keep the payroll down right ? holliday and nady both going into next year ? thats two soon to be FA’s who will require good money probly 100 120 mill altogether maybe more there is no way we do this im sorry but we can’t

  • Mason

    Wishlist- C.C, Tex, Matt Kemp for Cano + prospect, Orlando Hudson to replace Cano, maybe a Shane Victorino in center, the list could keep going but you get the picture.

    Reality- (hopefully)- Tex and a respectable pitcher i.e. Lowe and maybe the Kemp deal, the kemp deal will probably hinge on the Tex signing, considering that both Kemp and Tex are both capable #3 hitters. If we cant sign Tex, at least bring in Kemp he fills an outfield spot and is a productive bat in the lineup.

  • Raven

    I wouldn’t mind trade Cano and Hughes for Roy Halladay.
    Nobody with common sense would, I guess.
    But Holliday? Well, that’s a totally different story.
    He’s simply not that valuable.

  • Sabino

    This may sound like a crazy trade but crazier things have happened.

    First off the yankees trade for Brian Roberts to play 2nd.

    Then trade cano, ajax, matsui and 3 or 4 other high level pitching prospects (veras, coke, aceves, etc etc – doesn’t matter but keep hughes) for Tim Lincecum, Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito. The giants would LOVE to get rid of zito’s contract (they could go after CC once they rid themselves of that albatross of a contract) plus have a potential stud at 2nd, a 25hr 100rbi guy in matsui, and loads of up and coming talent in the rest – yes giving up lincecum is criminal but we are taking over that zito contract we HAVE to get something in return. Put Zito as the 4th or 5th starter and I’m sure he’ll deliver 10 -12 wins – he actually pitched pretty good toward the end of the season…we now have arguably a top 5 starter in all of baseball in lincecum and have satisfied our CF issues…
    next sign one of the lower tier FA starters (or moose or pettitte for one year) for the other pitching slot (4th or 5th) and possibly sign tex for first…if zito pans out we will have an awesome staff – and this doesn’t even include hughes as one of those starters (wang, joba, lincecum, zito, moose/pettitte)…

    any thoughts?

  • Arod188

    ^^ There is now way that the yankees would ever be able to, or want to do that trade. First of all, Cano is about 26 years old, Ajax is 21 years old, and giving up 3-4 of our bullpen guys who actually for once performed well last year, would be a terrible idea. Not only that, but Cano’s contract is team friendly and in 3 years when the market has risen insanely, Cano’s contract will look even better considering how much potential he has and the superstar he will become. Don’t get me wrong, Tim Lincecum is a fantastic, young pitcher who is only 24 years old, but picking up Zito AND ALL of his insane contract would be a bad gamble that I wouldn’t do, not to mention Cashman wouldn’t take that chance. Aaron Rowand is already 31, we need to get younger. He didn’t even have a great year last year, batting .271 with 13 hr and 70 rbi’s. I’d rather make a trade for Chad Billingsley and/or Matt Kemp. I think a package of Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, and 2/3 other mid level prospects would get that done. Billingsley is 24 years old, and Kemp is 24 also. Although Cano is 26, he is a proven talent and Phil Hughes is still one of the top rated “prospects” in MLB. Let’s not forget that he is still only 22 years old!

    • sabino

      reply to arod188:

      i understand cano’s potential – but will we be getting cano circa 2006/2007 or cano 2008? i for one don’t think a professional baseball player who has to be “reminded” on average once a month to play hard will ever understand what it means or ever do it…lets trade him now before he gets into melky territory and become untradeable…as for ajax – are you willing to bet the farm that he becomes the next yankee superstar..i’ve seem way to many yankee minor leaguers be just that….lincecum is a proven stud and comes real cheap….as i stated if zito pitches like he has the last 2 months he’ll be good for at least 12 wins -a #5 starter with 12 wins is win/win all the way..who cares about his salary this is the NY yankees – when did we ever worry about that…7 years without a WS ring is not the right time to start pinching pennies…..if you can get lincecum (and not trade hughes) then you do it…..i’ll take my chances with a proven winner, good clubhouse guy and hard nosed player like aaron rowand any day….he’s the pedroia of centerfeld..the yankees need more rowand’s and less abreu, cano and cabrera’s…..

  • leek

    I can’t even start to get into everything wrong with that trade to the Giants. Although, I do like the idea of bringing in Roberts if Cano is traded.

    I think the yankees want a big time bounce back season next year with the new stadium (need to keep ticket sales up for 2010), which is why I think they will go after a big time #1 starter. Despite all the talk I think C.C. will get a blank check to pitch in the Bronx. Then I would not be shocked if Peavy is really moved it is to the Yankees for Cano, Kennedy and whoever else the Padres want. That being said I think the yankees like Hughes more then people think and will try hard to keep him but for Peavy he could be moved as well. A rotation of C.C and Peavy as 1, 2 and Wang 3, is probably the best in baseball and gives them a big time core pitching staff to build around for years.

  • Charla Coulson

    Its superb as your other posts : D, thankyou for posting .