The Oakland Athletics' big trade chip of the summer, Matt Holliday, has finally upped his play over the last week, and may end up bringing the A's something back in return at the trade deadline after all.
Just a couple of posts back, I talked about Holliday's disappointing season thus far, and how it's really throwing a wrench into Billy Beane's plan. However, since the start of the second half, Holliday has looked like a completely different ballplayer. In 7 games since the all-star break, Holliday is hitting .407 with 3 big flies and 11 RBI while sporting an OPS over 1.300. The recent hot streak has also put Matt Holliday back on the map as far as premium hitting options who should be available before the July 31st trade deadline. The St. Louis Cardinals, who've been keeping an eye on Holliday for a while know, seem to be the team with the most known interest. They have a bunch of young players who they could send back to Oakland, including Chris Duncan and Colby Rasmus. If I were Beane, I'd try and hold out for Rasmus, who very well could end up being the NL's Rookie of the Year if he keeps up his steady play in the second half. I know he's hitting in front of Albert Pujols, which is probably the best spot in any lineup in baseball to hit in, which has likely helped inflate some numbers. He's the kind of top prospect that the A's need to shoot for if they deal Holliday!
Another team that could have interest in Holliday over the next week are the Atlanta Braves. One guy who comes to mind right away as a guy who'd fit perfectly in Oakland and a guy who could likely be had is Yunel Escobar. The 26 year-old Cuban-defector is quietly becoming one of the best all around shortstops in baseball. As a matter of fact, outside of Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes, I don't know that there's another shortstop in the NL who I'd take over Escobar!
UPDATE!!! Matt Holliday has been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that had the most apparent interest in the former Rockie. Details on the deal coming in Sunday's post!