Thursday, July 16, 2009

Holliday Struggling in Oakland

I'm sure Billy Beane and Co. had a much different vision in mind when they dealt a group of solid young players to the Rockies for Matt Holliday over the winter. The former NL batting champion and all-star has had a rough first half in the new league and the Oakland A's are running out of time and options with the potential free-agent.

The A's have been a disappointment this year and nowhere near a playoff team as their second half gets underway Thursday. A big reason for their struggles has been the under-performance from Matt Holliday. Since Holliday is a free agent after the year, and the A's have no future plans for him, they have no need to keep him past the July 31st trade deadline. Coming into the year, Billy Beane had a plan for Holliday; Either they're close at the deadline and Holliday stays, or they're out of it, and they can turn Holliday into another group of top, young prospects. In that plan of his though, I'm sure Beane figured Holliday would be on pace for his normal .300, 30 HR, 100 RBI season, regardless of what the A's win-loss record looked like. However, the left-fielder hasn't performed up to expectations, and his trade value is at an all-time low because of it. Add to it the fact that he's represented by Scott Boras, and the A's are really in a no-win situation with Holliday. Nobody is going to give up a two of their top prospects for a potential free-agent who's hitting just .270 with mediocre power (8 home runs) and RBI (43) numbers. So, what's the best case scenario for the A's as they go forward with their plannings for Holliday? Probably just hang on to him.

I'm sure if Beane could take the deal back and go forward with Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith and Huston Street ( the prominent three he gave up for the left fielder), he'd do it in a heartbeat. He's going to be hard-pressed to find a taker for Holliday in which he lands just one top-3 prospect from someones organization, let alone 2 top-5's and a Major League-caliber closer. So, unless Holliday starts ripping the cover off the ball and gets his average up to around his career mark at .315 while knocking balls out of the yard over the next 10 days, they're not going to get equal value for him in a trade. Therefor, the best thing they can do at this point is hang on to him, offer him arbitration after the season, and take the high compensation pick they'll get for him.

Who knows, their may still be some NL team that may take a chance on Holliday, hoping his return to NL will re-awaken his dormant bat, but I just don't see anyone giving up what the A's would want or even what they gave up for him. One team that had made it clear that they had interest in a deal for Holliday earlier in the year was the St. Louis Cardinal's, but they used a few of their bargaining chips to acquire Mark DeRosa from Cleveland in early June. The Giants are another team that could use a right-handed hitting outfielder, but Brian Sabean is well aware of Holliday's struggles outside of Coors Field and probably wouldn't give the A's much more than a couple of mid-level prospects for the left-fielder. And that's about all they can expect if they trade him.

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