Matt Holliday Rumors
Now that Matt Holliday's mega-contract is all but official, the Cardinals have approximately $6-7MM left in their budget according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. The team must now figure out how to allocate those funds, because they still have to address third base and the back of the rotation, plus the bullpen and bench."It's a great question and one that I don't know the answer to today," (GM John) Mozeliak said on Thursday when asked what comes next. "[Assistant GM John] Abbamondi, myself, Jeff [Luhnow, scouting director and farm director] and the group will sit down tomorrow. I'll then also get with Tony [La Russa, manager] over the weekend and we'll kind of prioritize what we think, if we had a bullet to use, what would we use it on. Once we get to that point, then we'll look at what's out there and how to use that resource if it's there. We may stand pat. But we'll see."
As Leach points out, the Cardinals do have in-house options at third (David Freese) and the fifth starter's spot (Jaime Garcia, Mitchell Boggs, Blake Hawksworth), though the bench - particularly a lefty hitter - is an area the team will have to go outside of the organization to upgrade.
We've seen names like Miguel Tejada, Joe Crede, and Felipe Lopez mentioned as possible fits for the Cardinals in recent weeks.
On this date nine years ago, the A's, Royals, and Devil Rays pulled off a three-team trade that included seven big leaguers. Oakland acquired Johnny Damon, Mark Ellis, and the late Cory Lidle while Kansas City received Angel Berroa, A.J. Hinch, and Roberto Hernandez. Tampa Bay picked up just Ben Grieve. Even though Berroa went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award in 2003, Billy Beane's club walked away as the clear winner of this blockbuster.
Let's take a look at what's being written around the baseball blogosphere as Spring Training inches closer...
- Fenway Nation thinks the Red Sox made a mistake by not re-signing Jason Bay, and wants to see the club atone for it by trading for Adrian Gonzalez.
- Simon On Sports interviewed a blogger from each team about their squad's offseason.
- At Home Plate says the Cardinals overpaid for Matt Holliday not because he isn't worth the money, but because no one else was bidding for his services.
- Athletics Nation graded the front offices of the last decade.
- U.S.S. Mariner calls Franklin Gutierrez's contract extension a major bargain, and notes it's similarities to the deal Mike Cameron signed with Seattle a decade ago.
- DRays Bay wonders if the Rays could use Alfredo Amezaga.
- Phillies Nation takes a look at some of the cheaper free agent pitching options that could entice the two-time defending NL Champs.
- Twins Overlook examines the progression of Delmon Young since arriving in Minnesota.
- River Ave. Blues ranked the $100MM contracts given to position players.
- More Hardball has some New Year's resolutions for various people and teams in the game.
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.
Matt Holliday has officially signed what will surely be the biggest contract of the 2009-10 offseason. It's a seven-year, $120MM deal with a full no-trade clause. Holliday's vesting option for 2017 would be worth $17MM if he finishes in the top-10 in MVP voting in 2016; if the option doesn't vest, the Cards will owe Holliday a $1MM buyout.
ESPN's Buster Olney wrote Monday that the two sides were close to a possible seven-year deal and SI.com's Jon Heyman first reported that the Cardinals and Holliday had agreed to a deal. Heyman (via Twitter) and Matthew Leach of MLB.com delivered the specifics later.
Holliday, who will keep getting paid under this contract until he's 49, will be 36 in the last guaranteed year of the deal. By comparison, Jason Bay will be 34 in the last year of his deal, one that guarantees him $54MM less than the one Holliday signed.
Holliday falls short of the $18MM average salary he reportedly sought, but this contract is a huge win for Boras given the lack of competition. Click here to check out others' reactions to the deal.
Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- Three or four teams are interested in Padres closer Heath Bell, but the team isn't really looking to move him. Rosenthal sees Bell getting just $3-4MM in his second arbitration year; that seems light to me.
- Rosenthal reminds us that the Rockies are eyeing Robb Quinlan and Fernando Tatis as bench candidates. He wonders, though, if the Rockies, Cardinals, A's, and Cubs could find starting infielders at bargain prices as the offseason wears on. Rosenthal says Miguel Tejada is looking for two years and $16MM; I can't think of a team that would come close to that.
- The Cardinals believed Scott Boras might've taken Matt Holliday elsewhere on a one-year deal, though a rival executive believes that was unlikely.
- The Pirates' interest in Rick Ankiel is obvious - Frank Coonelly has said as much in multiple chats with fans. A couple of Rosenthal sources were divided on the Bucs' chances of signing Ankiel, who would play right field for them. The only other known suitor is the Royals.
As part of his new seven year, $120MM contract, Matt Holliday will be collecting paychecks from the Cardinals through 2029 according to the AP (via SI.com). As you know, the contract calls for a $17MM annual salary through 2016 with an option for 2017, however $2MM is deferred without interest each season. Depending on whether or not the option is picked up/vests, Holliday will be paid either $1.4MM or $1.6MM on July 15th every year from 2020 to 2029.
Just for some perspective, Holliday will be 49-years-old on July 15th, 2029.
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."
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.
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.
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.