For the second consecutive year, heavy trade deadline rumors are surrounding Matt Holliday and the St. Louis Cardinals, only this time the outfielder is Oakland property, not that of the Colorado Rockies.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported Thursday morning that the Cardinals “might be edging closer” to meeting Oakland’s asking price for Holliday, a free agent following this season. That price is reportedly top Cards minor league prospect, Memphis third baseman Brett Wallace.
The Chronicle’s report goes on to state the Cardinals’ “other option essentially would be” Washington outfielder Josh Willingham. It does not explain why these are apparently the only two fish in the sea.
ESPN’s Buster Olney lines up with the Chronicle’s report, quoting a source familiar with the negotiations that puts the odds at 50-50. Olney mentions the Cards have known for weeks that Wallace is required by Oakland to make the deal, but perhaps the A’s will agree to cover some of Holliday’s salary.
Holliday makes $13.5 million this season or has about $6 million to go on the final year of a two-year, $23 million deal signed with the Rockies prior to the 2008 season.
SI.com’s Jon Heyman is also in the camp that says the Cards are “seriously pursuing” Holliday. Heyman only states that Wallace is “in the mix” as Oakland’s take, however.
Finally, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has chimed in quoting his sources as saying both “there is nothing going on” while also labeling the Cardinals interest in Holliday as only “mild”.
Who knows what or who to believe?
Personally, I am not even focused on the money. I am among those against giving up six Major League seasons of Wallace for two months of Holliday. There is always the chance that Holliday will like St. Louis and want to stay, but Scott Boras is his agent.
For every Kyle Lohse that spurns free agency, there are many more Boras clients that hit the open market. A couple of potential compensation draft picks received if Holliday walks after the season are not enough to change my view.