Matt Holliday Rumors

Injury Notes: Holliday, Odorizzi, Morrow

The Cardinals tonight placed left fielder Matt Holliday on the disabled list with a quadriceps injury, the team announced. It’s not known what type of timeframe Holliday will need to recover, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Holliday has a Grade 2 tear of his right quad and will be reevaluated two weeks from now (Twitter links). Losing Holliday would be the second blow to the middle of the Cardinals’ order, as St. Louis has already lost Matt Adams for the remainder of the season to a similar injury, though Adams had a complete tear of his quad that required surgery. Unlike that scenario, however, the Cards do have a plethora of internal replacement candidates for Holliday. Randal Grichuk, Jon Jay, Jason Heyward and Peter Bourjos are all on the big league roster, and well-regarded prospect Stephen Picsotty is waiting in the wings as well.

A couple more injury-related notes…

  • Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi landed on the 15-day disabled list tonight as well, thanks to a left oblique injury. Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times writes that Odorizzi feels the injury is less serious than the oblique issue that sidelined teammate Alex Cobb for five-and-a-half weeks last year. However, Odorizzi also isn’t sure how long he’ll be sidelined and doesn’t have a timetable for his return at present. Odorizzi called the strain “mild to moderate” and said he’ll play catch later this week.
  • Padres right-hander Brandon Morrow‘s return to the mound has been slowed, as a setback in his recovery means he’ll be shut down from throwing entirely for the next two weeks, via the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). Odrisamer Despaigne has stepped into the rotation in Morrow’s absence, but he’s been incredibly hit-or-miss in his past six outings. Despaigne yielded eight runs in his return to the rotation in early May, and he’s surrendered seven, two, zero, one and four runs, respectively, in five subsequent start. The outcome for Despaigne has been a 5.82 ERA over six starts. San Diego also has Josh Johnson rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but it seems unlikely that the team would bank on Johnson taking the ball every fifth day through season’s end upon his return; Johnson has long struggled with injuries and has not thrown a pitch in the Majors since Aug. 6, 2013.

NL Notes: Holliday, Plawecki, Montero, Mets

Here’s the latest out of the National League:

  • Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday left last night’s game with what looked to be a fairly significant quadriceps strain, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but we can expect more information today. While the team does have options in left — Randal Grichuk, Peter Bourjos, and Jon Jay are all available on the MLB roster, and top prospect Stephen Piscotty is waiting at Triple-A — any lengthy loss would be a huge blow. Holliday, 35, has put up a typically strong (although atypically low-power) .303/.417/.421 batting line thus far. And St. Louis is already dealing with the loss of first baseman Matt Adams to a severe quad injury, leaving some questions in the middle of the order.
  • The Mets are in an interesting spot as the trade deadline approaches, with some useful trade chips that are also somewhat redundant assets. Among the young, big league level players who the team could conceivably deal, catcher Kevin Plawecki is not really an option to be moved, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter links). Though he’ll likely be replaced soon by Travis d’Arnaud, the Mets don’t want to sacrifice depth behind the plate. But righty Rafael Montero could well be moved, says Puma, though he’ll need to get over his shoulder issues and back on track to carry the kind of value the team would hope.
  • While the Mets continue to receive strong results from their rotation, the club’s handling of the staff has been problematic, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Top lefty prospect Steven Matz is being held down until Super Two avoidance can be assured, says Sherman, while the club struggles to figure out what to do with Jon Niese and Dillon Gee.
  • Sherman adds that the club “may have been able” to get Juan Uribe from the Dodgers in exchange for Gee, but passed on the opportunity because the team did not yet appreciate the severity of David Wright‘s back problems. The club is now struggling to fill in at the hot corner, particularly with Daniel Murphy joining Wright on the DL.

NL Central Notes: Gennett, Holliday, Kang

A season’s worth of struggles at the plate have led to a Triple-A demotion for Scooter Gennett, who has made the bulk of the starts at second base for the Brewers over the past two seasons, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). Gennett has never been able to handle left-handed pitching, but he’s a career .313/.345/.470 hitter against righties (even including this year’s struggles). The 2015 season has not been kind to Gennett, however, who is 0-for-11 in 12 plate appearances against left-handed pitching and has produced just a .192/.236/.250 slash line against right-handed pitching. Gennett’s struggles aren’t mere early-season BABIP woes either (though some of that has been at play); the 25-year-old has 19 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances, and that 27.5 percent clip is an alarming increase for a hitter who carried a career 15.5 percent strikeout rate into the season. As Haudricourt notes, promising relief prospect Corey Knebel, acquired in the offseason trade that sent Yovani Gallardo to Texas, has been recalled from Triple-A.

More from the NL Central…

  • Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday spoke with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about how he’s been able to survive the constant grind of 162-game seasons and perform as durably as he has throughout his career. As Goold writes, that durability is why chairman Bill Dewitt Jr. sees Holliday as a pillar of the club. Per Goold, both team and player expect Holliday’s 2017 option to be exercised, if not rolled into a lengthier extension. Said Holliday of the matter: “I’d like to play as long as I can at a high level. I’d love to play here until I’m just not ready to play. I want this to be my last spot.”
  • Jung Ho Kang made his fourth consecutive start on Sunday — his third at the shortstop position, writes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Jordy Mercer‘s struggles have led the Pirates to give more playing time to Kang, who signed a four-year deal as the first position player to successfully jump from the Korea Baseball Organization to Major League Baseball this offseason. Kang is hitting a robust .300/.367/.457, and while some have expressed concern about his defense, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle seemed confident in his abilities. Hurdles likened Kang to Jhonny Peralta, noting that while he doesn’t have the lateral range of Mercer, he is sure-handed and accurate with his throws. Brink notes that the Pirates have been translating their infield positioning notes into Korean for Kang. “Jordy’s got more experience within this league for positioning,” said Hurdle. “The only way Jung Ho’s going to get it is to continue to get out there and get those reps.”


NL Central Notes: Wainwright, Holliday, Pirates, Leake

Adam Wainwright returned to the mound today and threw a 30- to 40-pitch bullpen session without issue, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wainwright gave Cardinals fans a bit of a scare last week when he had to return to St. Louis to see a specialist for pain in his abdomen, but he was diagnosed with a strain and merely prescribed some rest. Manager Mike Matheny said his ace will first have to face hitters in a live batting practice session before getting into a game, but he didn’t give reporters a timeline on that next step.

More from the NL Central…

  • Matt Holliday said to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports today that he hopes the Cardinals will eventually pick up his 2017 option (Twitter link). Holliday says he’s not concerned with the financial component of the $17MM option, but rather that he likes playing in St. Louis and hopes to remain as long as he can. In reply, Goold tweeted to Heyman that team president Bill DeWitt Jr. has told the Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz that the current intention is indeed to exercise the option. Of course, plenty could change that line of thinking over the next two seasons, especially considering the fact that Holliday is already 35.
  • Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review opines that new addition Jung-ho Kang is more likely to eventually cut into the playing time of Jordy Mercer or Josh Harrison than Neil Walker in the short-term. He also tackles recent reports that the Pirates are open to an extension with Andrew McCutchen at a premium price, wondering if such a move would be wise for the Bucs four years in advance of the end of a contract that already runs through McCutchen’s age-31 season. As Sawchik notes, paying for a player’s decline phase rarely proves to be a sound decision for any team, and the team could have younger assets like Gerrit Cole or Gregory Polanco on which to use that hefty sum as they enter their arbitration years.
  • Mike Leake tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’s happy to have survived the Reds‘ offseason with the team, as he and fellow right-handers Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon entered the offseason fully aware that they could be traded. (Latos and Simon, of course, were indeed traded.) Leake hasn’t been approached by the Reds about an extension yet and isn’t expecting them to do so, although he’d like to see them at least try to work out a long-term deal. The 27-year-old former No. 8 overall pick can become a free agent at season’s end and has enjoyed a pair of productive seasons in 2013-14, posting a 3.54 ERA in 406 2/3 innings.

NL Notes: Nationals, Escobar, Holliday, Lopez

The Nationals haven’t managed to avoid the possibility of losing key members of their team due to free agency, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reports. The Nats could be without Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond and Doug Fister after the season because they haven’t managed to sign those players to long-term deals that delay free agency. That might not be entirely their fault, Svrluga suggests — they tried to sign all three players. In the meantime, though, they have another wave of core players (Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon) to whom they could turn their attention. Strasburg, Harper and Rendon are all represented by Scott Boras, who does not generally like long-term deals for pre-free-agency players. Some of his clients, such as Jered Weaver and Carlos Gonzalez, have signed them, however. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • Yunel Escobar wasn’t happy to have been traded away from the Rays to the Athletics and then from the Athletics to the Nationals, and he also wasn’t happy he’d have to move from shortstop to second base, the Post’s James Wagner writes. Escobar has changed his mind since then, however. “They’ve reached the playoffs two of the last three years,” says Escobar. “I want to help them win a World Series. If the missing piece is me playing second base, then I’m here for anything.” Escobar says certain aspects of playing second base, like turning double plays, are “confusing,” but says that he’ll improve that them with practice.
  • Baseball is full of incredibly disappointing free-agent contracts, but Matt Holliday‘s current seven-year, $120MM deal with the Cardinals isn’t one of them, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. “I really wanted it to work out great for both sides,” says Holliday. “A lot of times with a long-term contract, you hear ‘They hope to get a couple of good years out of it.’ My goal from the day I signed was to get to the end of the contract and have everybody feel really good about it.” Holliday’s defense has slipped since signing, but he’s maintained a high standard offensively, and with just two years (plus an option) left on the deal, it looks like the Cardinals are going to get more than their money’s worth.
  • When Cuban righty Yoan Lopez signed with the Diamondbacks, he joined the organization he rooted for as a child, Carlos Torres Bujanda writes for Baseball America. “Since I was a kid, I followed the D-backs when Randy Johnson was on the team,” says Lopez. “To see the games or check the stats I had friends who worked in hotels with Internet access. They download the games so I can watch later, or see the numbers.” Lopez adds that he’s happy the Diamondbacks also signed another Cuban player this offseason, Yasmany Tomas.

Quick Hits: Gomes, Holliday, Marlins, Cespedes

A number of impressive postseason achievements have occurred on October 6th over the years, yet perhaps the most notable was Babe Ruth slugging three home runs in Game Four of the 1926 World Series.  The Bambino’s huge day helped the Yankees to a win and (according to legend) fulfilled his promise that he would homer in honor of a hospitalized young fan on that day.

Could another incredible playoff moment take place tonight?  While we wait for today’s NLDS Game 3 action, here are some notes from around the majors…

  • The Cubs could be interested in outfielder Jonny Gomes, league sources tell ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers.  The Cubs are known to be looking for both veteran leadership in the clubhouse and depth in the outfield, and Gomes could check both boxes as a platoon partner with Chris Coghlan.
  • The Cardinals received some criticism when they signed Matt Holliday to a seven-year, $120MM free agent deal in January 2010, yet as MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes, both the team and the player are very happy with how everything worked out five years into the contract.  Holliday has averaged .295/.383/.496 with 24 homers and 92 runs scored from 2010-14, and while he posted career lows in average (.272) and slugging (.441) this season, it could be argued that the deal has already been worth it for St. Louis.
  • The Marlins are looking to add a starting pitcher this winter, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports.  A new arm plus the return of Jose Fernandez could lead to some rotation shuffling, and Frisaro cites Tom Koehler and Nathan Eovaldi as possible candidates to move to the bullpen.  Also in the piece, Frisaro examines some other Miami position changes that could occur depending on how the Marlins’ offseason shopping plans develop.
  • On paper, Yoenis Cespedes fits as a long-term power bat for the Red Sox, though Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald notes that Cespedes’ free-swinging, low-OBP style doesn’t fit into the Red Sox organizational philosophy of taking pitches and grinding down opposing pitchers.  Silverman thinks Cespedes could potentially better help the Sox as a trade piece, perhaps as part of a major package to pry Giancarlo Stanton away from Miami.
  • Hunter Strickland‘s rise from being an unheralded Red Sox draft pick to a flame-throwing postseason reliever for the Giants is chronicled by WEEI.com’s Alex Speier.
  • Stephen Drew, Jed Lowrie, Jason Hammel, Rafael Soriano and Alfonso Soriano stand out as potential bargains on the free agent market, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post opines.

Why I Chose My Agency: Matt Holliday

In the first of a six-week series at MLB Trade Rumors, B.J. Rains spoke with Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday on his agent Scott Boras and why he picked him and the relationship the two have.

Here is what Holliday had to say about Boras:

"I signed with Scott Boras after my first year in the big leagues in 2004. My brother had him as an agent so I was familiar with him and interviewed him when I interviewed a bunch of agents while trying to decide after the 2004 season.

I went to California to meet with Scott and Mike Fiore (works for Boras) and Steve Odgers (a training guru employed by Boras) and some of their people and saw their facility and I just felt like to me, in doing the research and looking into all of the possible agents, I felt like it was a good fit. I felt like they did a fantastic job. They had research capabilities and staff and they had an institution in California for working out and longevity of careers and it just felt like they had all of their bases covered. Scott had a lot of experience as a player and obviously his resume as an agent spoke for itself and the players he’s had.

You want an agent that you can trust that they know what they are doing. I think for me, he’s somebody that has your best interest in negotiating your contract and he also has people on staff that can help you with your game and not just your contract. They offered a lot of services outside of here. They have a psychologist on staff, people who are doing research for arbitration cases years in advance. They have a research team, a marketing team, a sports nutrition team. I just felt it wasn’t just about negotiating your contract. They offered a lot more.

Also the personal relationship with somebody that you enjoy sitting down and talking to them. Scott is as accessible as you want him to be. I could call him right now. He’s got a lot of clients and people say they don’t hear from Scott but he’ll give you as much or as little attention as you want. I’m not a high maintenance guy, I don’t need to talk to him a lot, but if I need anything, I can call him anytime. I talk to Mike Fiore once a week, but like I said, Scott is as accessible as you want him to be.

I see him from time to time. Whenever we play in L.A. I’ll have lunch or dinner with him. If I wanted him to come to St. Louis he’d come anytime I want. It’s just one of those things where again, I don’t need a lot of maintenance.

Scott has been better than I hoped he would be. I’ve really enjoyed it, not only what he’s offered me as an agent but just getting to know him as a person and the father and husband that he is and all the wisdom that he has that I’ve enjoyed from not just baseball but all walks of life.

I laugh a lot of times when people have opinions of Scott. They couldn’t be further from the truth, the majority of them. I enjoy spending time with him and I think he’s really fun to be around and really good at what he does. I don’t have a negative thing to say about him."


Red Sox Notes: Jerez, Holliday, Bradley, Weiland

The Red Sox and Yankees are rivals all year long, even during the Home Run Derby. But Robinson Cano and the rest of the Yankees will be suiting up alongside Adrian Gonzalez and the rest of the Red Sox for one night only during tonight's All-Star Game…

  • The Red Sox signed second round pick Williams Jerez, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The Dominican-born center fielder will obtain the bonus recommended by MLB, which will likely be $444K.
  • Matt Holliday told the Boston Herald that he “thought there was a chance” of signing with the Red Sox after the 2009 season, when he hit free agency. The outfielder ended up staying in St. Louis on a seven-year, $120MM deal.
  • Agent Scott Boras told Speier that Jackie Bradley Jr., a supplemental first round pick of the Red Sox,  is doing well in his recovery from wrist surgery. Boras says Bradley is preparing to return to college (though he’s not going to concede leverage by saying that Bradley is preparing to sign).
  • At Baseball America, Speier explains that Kyle Weiland has been the best player in Boston's minor league system this year. The 24-year-old has a 3.00 ERA in the minors and debuted in the Major Leagues before the break. Speier goes on to explain why Miles Head has been a pleasant surprise and why Drake Britton has been a disappointment in the subscriber-only piece.

Quick Hits: Holliday, Twins, Astros, Nats, Red Sox

Some links to browse through on your Sunday afternoon…


Mozeliak: No Plans To Defer Part Of Holliday’s Deal

A few days before the Albert Pujols deadline came and went without a long-term agreement, Matt Holliday said (in an ESPN Radio interview) that he would consider deferring part of his contract if it helped the Cardinals sign their superstar first baseman. GM John Mozeliak told SI.com's Jon Heyman that the team has no plans to accept Holliday's offer, and that it was "not game altering." (Twitter link)

Part of Holliday's seven year, $120MM contract is already deferred, to the tune of $2MM annually without interest. That money will be paid out from 2020 through 2029. Holliday did say in the interview that a scenario in which he deferred money to allow the team to sign Pujols was "very hypothetical," and that he had not been approached by the club about doing so.