Olney On Holliday, Valverde, Cust, Branyan

ESPN.com's Buster Olney argues that baseball writers shouldn't decide who makes it into the Hall of Fame. After explaining why he'd prefer to see the Hall of Fame appoint its own panel, Olney turns up some rumors from around the league. Here they are:

  • One MLB official says the Matt Holliday deal may end up as "one of the worst deals in major league history" because the Cardinals were apparently bidding against themselves.
  • Olney hears from negotiators who believe the Cards should have lowered their offer considerably once the Mets signed Jason Bay.
  • Jose Valverde is asking for $8MM per season and wants to be a closer. As Olney points out, the Pirates and Marlins are not likely to match Valverde's asking price unless he lowers it. The Tigers have been cost-conscious this offseason, but they could use an accomplished reliever.
  • Olney says it's clear that Billy Beane and the A's value Jack Cust "in a way that many other teams do not."
  • Executives around the league are concerned about Russell Branyan's back. The 34-year-old slugged 31 homers last year, though he didn't play after August.