Matt Holliday Rumors

Matt Holliday Signing Reactions

Yesterday Matt Holliday and the Cardinals agreed to a seven-year, $120MM deal, possibly worth $136MM over eight years if Holliday finishes in the top ten in the MVP voting in 2016 (he'll head into that season as a 36-year-old).  $2MM deferred per year knocks down the present-day value of the deal a bit.  Let's take a look at reactions from around the web.

  • ESPN's Buster Olney spoke to one GM who thinks the Cardinals overpaid by about $30MM given the lack of competition for Holliday.  Another exec's crack: "I guess that will end the collusion talk."  Olney also wonders if the Cardinals can afford to pay Holliday and Albert Pujols $43-47MM from 2012 forward.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has the same concerns.
  • ESPN's Keith Law suggests the Cardinals are the NL Central frontrunners for 2010 and 2011.  But the downside to having both Holliday and Pujols locked up for big bucks is that the Cards would need to fill out the rest of the roster with bargains.  They might not have the farm system to do so.
  • Aaron Schafer of Viva El Birdos offers his take: "the money's fine, but the length of the deal is a killer."

What’s Next For The Cardinals?

The Cardinals committed $120MM over seven years to Matt Holliday yesterday; he'll be paid $17MM in each year of the deal (with $2MM deferred annually).  Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the contract "leaves the club with little financial space to address the No. 5 starter, the opening at third base and the wish to add a reliever."

Miguel Tejada and Felipe Lopez are known third base targets for the Cardinals, but Goold says either player would be difficult to fit into the budget based on current demands.  Goold's colleague Joe Strauss says Tejada and Lopez are probably out "unless their market collapses."  Goold expects David Freese to get a crack at the hot corner, with internal candidates filling the fifth starter role as well.  The CHONE projection system has Freese hitting .269/.335/.442 in 2010, which wouldn't be any worse than Tejada and Lopez's projections.

The Cards could add an affordable left-handed bench bat via free agency, and Goold says Ryan Church is one name on the radar.  As for the bullpen, Goold speculates on Octavio Dotel and notes that a Russ Springer reunion has been discussed.  The Cardinals' offseason financial flexibility will hinge on the arbitration cases of Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumaker.  Goold wouldn't be surprised to see March bargains or midseason additions if the Cardinals stay quiet over the next few months.


Odds & Ends: Phillies, Iannetta, Braves

Links for Tuesday…

  • Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro said a lefty reliever and another starter are still on his wish list, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.
  • Troy Renck of The Denver Post provides the details of Chris Iannetta's contract extension. The backstop can void the $5MM club option for 2013 if he is traded anytime before then.
  • Braves' GM Frank Wren said he's looking for just "one more small piece" to fill out his club's offensive needs, tweets MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Bowman notes that the Braves need a primary pinch hitter.
  • Adrian Beltre will take his physical on Thursday, tweeted Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post provides some thoughts on the Mets' deal with Jason Bay. He notes that the team's scouts "contend Bay is a better defender than (Matt) Holliday," despite what the metrics and people outside the organization say.
  • The Giants designated defensively-skilled shortstop Brian Bocock for assignment to make room for Juan Uribe, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • ESPN's Keith Law sees "very little downside" for the Red Sox with the Adrian Beltre deal.  He notes that Boston's defense should be terrific this year.  Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says Beltre is "in the conversation of the best defensive third baseman of all time."  WEEI's Rob Bradford says the Red Sox considered signing Beltre after the '04 season, and even discussed trying him at shortstop.  Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe says Beltre is, at the least, an upgrade over Casey Kotchman.
  • Ken Davidoff of Newsday feels the Mets could raise payroll in 2011, so they won't be limited because of Jason Bay's contract.  By the way, Bradford has the transcript from Bay's press conference today.
  • Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball notes that the ten-day arbitration-filing period begins today.  MLB.com's Doug Miller highlights the biggest eligible names.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney suggests the Giants and Mets have been the slowest to adapt to advanced stats.  He also notes that the proliferation of better defensive metrics could greatly benefit Carl Crawford as a free agent next offseason.
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart talked to Astros GM Ed Wade, who said the trade market isn't great because of all the remaining free agents.  Also, Wade is focused on one-year deals for arbitration-eligible players such as Michael Bourn, Wandy Rodriguez, and Hunter Pence.
  • With Matt Holliday inching toward a large contact with the Cardinals, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at other $100MM deals given to outfielders.
  • MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone has a summary of Peter Gammons' appearance on WFAN this morning.
  • R.J. Anderson of DRays Bay interviewed Dan Feinstein, the Rays' Director of Baseball Operations.


Matt Holliday, Cardinals Could Agree This Week

10:06pm: Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa says that any deal should be finalized this week, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The piece offers plenty of detail about this past weekend's negotiations, which have left the Cardinals with "a sense of optimism" regarding Holliday.

5:30pm: Sources tell ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the Cardinals and Holliday "are close to a deal."

12:35pm: It's been suggested that the Cardinals have offered multiple contract scenarios to Holliday.  One might have been seven years and $112MM, according to SI's Jon Heyman.  Also, Heyman talked to one source who believes the Orioles are "laying in the weeds" despite recent denials.

Meanwhile, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers his take, in which he notes that silence from Cards GM John Mozeliak might be a positive sign.

8:30am: A Friday tweet by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had some fans wondering if a Matt Holliday signing was imminent, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contacted La Russa to get an explanation exceeding 140 characters.  La Russa explained to Goold:

"We're getting ready to move.  I know they’ve been talking a lot with Matt. I know we have a really smart Plan B…(It) could be on Plan A, or it could be our Plan B. The point is, we're not going to get stuck."

La Russa told Goold he was not referring specifically to Holliday with his "Soon the Cards will be smart too" tweet.  However, Goold did learn from one source that there could be a Holliday resolution this week.  Goold speculated that of the various packages offered to the slugger, six or seven years with a guarantee over $100MM might do the trick.  Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports suggested on Wednesday that Holliday aims to top the $18MM average annual salary he passed up from the Rockies in '08.  It will be interesting to see how high the Cardinals are willing to go given the lack of a clear second suitor for Holliday.


Rosenthal On Holliday, Sheets, Valverde

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column up in which he predicts destinations for ten of the top remaining free agents.  A few worth noting:

  • Rosenthal guesses the Cardinals will sign Matt Holliday for around seven years and $120MM.
  • Rosenthal likes the Marlins for Aroldis Chapman.
  • He sees the Cubs nabbing Ben Sheets, a possibility I hadn't really considered.  It's unclear how much money the Cubs have left and how much Sheets will require.
  • Rosenthal expects the Tigers to sign one of the available DH types (Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, and Carlos Delgado are out there).
  • Rosenthal's choice for Jose Valverde, the Tigers, makes more sense than my earlier A's prediction.  Rosenthal admits that the Tigers surrendering their #19 pick would be "a significant obstacle," but one person I talked to noted that it might not be since the Tigers traditionally go over slot and could therefore get a big talent later in the draft.

Odds & Ends: Rincon, Calero, Rangers, Encarnacion

Here are some links to kick off the weekend…

  • Troy Renck of The Denver Post provides the details on Juan Rincon's contract with the Rockies. He'll earn $800K plus incentives in the big leagues, or $20K per month in the minors.
  • Satchel Price at Beyond The Box Score wonders why we haven't heard more about Kiko Calero this offseason. The Cubs and Giants were interested in the righthander at various times this offseason.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reiterates what we heard yesterday: the Rangers are seeking a veteran catcher. He mentions that they've shown interest in both Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro.
  • Edwin Encarnacion suffered burns to his face in a fireworks accident according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas. He will not require surgery, and will be ready to go in Spring Training.
  • Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports lists ten players we should keep an on eye to see how their market develops during the remainder of the offseason. His list is led by Matt Holliday and Aroldis Chapman.
  • MLB.com's Matthew Leach notes that if the Cardinals felt they weren't in a good position to re-sign Holliday, they would have moved on to other targets by now. 
  • Dick Kaegel of MLB.com says that "it would take a calamitous showing" for Royals' manager Trey Hillman to lose his job this season given his relationship with GM Dayton Moore.
  • Steve Slowinski at DRaysBay goes back in time to evaluate the Danys Baez and Lance Carter for Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany trade.

Olney On Gonzalez, Holliday, Dodgers

ESPN.com's Buster Olney offers some storylines to look for in 2010 and turns up some rumors along the way. Here they are:

  • The Padres will, "in all likelihood," gauge the market for Adrian Gonzalez this summer and deal him before the July 31st trade deadline. The Mets, Mariners and Red Sox could all bid for the slugger, but the list of suitors could change drastically by mid-summer.
  • One GM expects the Mariners to consider offers for Felix Hernandez if they don't lock him up long-term. "They may seriously have to think about trading him," the GM said. Locking Felix up won't be cheap, either. As Olney notes, Hernandez could command C.C. Sabathia-type money ($161MM) if he were a free agent. Luckily for Mariners fans, Felix won't hit the open market until after the 2011 season at the earliest.
  • Olney says the Orioles offered Matt Holliday $70MM or so at one point before moving on. Here's a look at some other offers Holliday has received.
  • Executives tell Olney that the Dodgers' quiet offseason is giving other teams confidence and emboldening them to make more moves. 

Matt Holliday Rumors: Thursday

12:57pm: Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Scott Boras might consider one or two-year offers for Holliday. However, there are nine-figure offers out there, so, as Miklasz says, a short-term deal seems "highly unlikely." Miklasz hears that Boras won't go for a five-year offer from the Cardinals. The agent seems to be going for a seven or eight-year deal, but the Cards remain confident in their chances of bringing Holliday back.

8:17am: Yesterday we heard that the Cardinals were "working toward an agreement" with Matt Holliday. Talks are picking up and the Cards' offer is apparently considerable. Jon Heyman and Buster Olney suggested that the Cards have offered $100MM or more, Tracy Ringolsby heard that the Cards offered $140MM and Derrick Goold said the sides have even discussed an eight-year deal.

One team that won't be interested at that level: the Orioles. Team president Andy MacPhail told Jeff Zrebiec that there is no validity to Ringolsby's report of a $130MM offer.

Today, John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that Holliday and agent Scott Boras asked for a deal worth $170MM when the Red Sox offered $85MM back in early December. That's Mark Teixeira territory, so the Red Sox moved on.

Matt Holliday Rumors: Wednesday

10:42pm: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Holliday and the Cardinals are "working toward an agreement" that is "gaining momentum."  Due to this progress, a deal is possible next week.  Goold says multiple contract structures have been discussed – five guaranteed years with a higher salary, and even an "eight-year framework."

7:21pm: Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports that Holliday didn't accept a contract offer of at least six years and "presumably" worth more than $100MM offered by St. Louis "in the past couple weeks."  Heyman also tweeted that Holliday "is still talking to multiple teams." 

3:20pm: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Cardinals' offer to Holliday "is believed to be over $100MM" (guaranteed, he tells me).  Additionally, Ringolsby replied to my email and clarified that he's been told the Cards' eight-year, $140MM offer is guaranteed both in years and dollars.

1:55pm: Talking to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, MacPhail moved quickly to shoot down Ringolsby's report of the Orioles making an eight-year, $130MM offer for Holliday.

1:01pm: Tracy Ringolsby's FOX Sports column today contains information on Matt Holliday's current contract demands as well as a couple of offers that have been made.

Ringolsby says Holliday wants to top the $18MM average salary of a four-year, $72MM deal the Rockies once offered.  But if you look at our post from Monday, you'll see that the Rockies' reported offers are all over the map.

Ringolsby says the Cardinals "made a proposal that could reach $140 million over eight years."  This fits with Joe Strauss' mid-December article for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that said the Cardinals offered "around $15 million-$16 million a season for up to eight years."  In both cases the vague wording makes me wonder whether the offer was eight years guaranteed, or just five years plus options as some have suggested.  I have an email out to Ringolsby for clarification.

Ringolsby adds that the Orioles made an eight-year, $130MM offer to Holliday.  What's more, he says Andy MacPhail "did discuss the possibility of arranging a meeting between himself, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Holliday in Austin, Texas, where Holliday is living in the offseason."  If true, the Orioles could be more serious about Holliday than previously thought.


Odds & Ends: Mariners, Gomes, Holliday, Bay

Links for Wednesday…