Editor’s Note: The information in this blog post might completely lack “timeliness,” but considering the fact that Matt Holliday hit .500 last week with 3 homeruns, 7 RBI, and 6 runs scored, he seems to be in line for a big second half batting behind Albert Pujols in the Cardinals lineup. While about a week dated, hopefully any advice we can provide you on keeping Matt Holliday is valuable.
Thursday night, former no. 1 fantasy baseball outfielder Matt Holliday was dealt from the Oakland Athletics to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for 3 prospects – Brett Wallace, Shane Peterson and Clayton Mortensen.
The Cardinals have been interested in Holliday since last offseason, with rumors floating last fall that he could be dealt for Ryan Ludwick. A deal between the two teams never surfaced, however, and Holliday was dealt to Oakland instead for Huston Street, Carlos Gonzalez, and another prospect.
While in Oakland, Holliday took a dip even more drastic than most fantasy baseball experts predicted. He batted .276 with 8 homeruns, 43 RBI, 42 runs scored and 10 steals in the first half. We all expected a drop in production, but the homerun and batting average total were kind of eye raising.
Acquiring Holliday to protect Albert Pujols while keeping Ryan Ludwick to protect Holliday seems to be in the best interest of the Cardinals as they hold on to a first-place tie with the Chicago Cubs. While Pujols has continued to be baseball’s best hitter, both in respect and in statistics, Ludwick has kept a similar pace to 2008, surpassing our expectations.
There are two major effects of Holliday’s potential for the home stretch now that he is playing for St. Louis:
- He enters a more hitter-friendly ballpark and lineup.
- He is hitting behind the best hitter in baseball in a better lineup.
While its clear that Holliday’s career numbers were inflated by playing at Coors Field, he has batted .385 with 5 homeruns, 7 RBI and 8 runs in 39 at-bats over 11 career games at Busch Stadium.
It seems that the slight decline in Holliday’s numbers we all expected should see a recovery in the last two months of the season. This trade will not have the same effect on the Cards that the trade of Manny Ramirez had on the Dodgers last season. However, acquiring Holliday does make the Cards the favorite in the NL Central. The team is also now a legitimate competitor with the Phillies and Dodgers for supremacy in the NL.
If you were on the verge of dealing Holliday, this is obviously not a good idea at this point in the year. His former position as a buy-low candidate has now improved. Consider him a sell high if you can get a player like Cliff Lee or Justin Verlander for him, and consider Holliday the steal of the season if you can get him straight up for a player like Fausto Carmona or Scott Hairston.
We aren’t making these trade scenarios up, either. Over the last 24 hours, Holliday has been traded 1-for-1 in these deals on CBS Sportsline.