Let’s light the lamp oil, put a log in the stove, pour the winter ales and speculate about all things in the world of the red-stringed rawhide….
Soon, it will be A Very Happy Matt Holliday Season* for some team and their fans. The question is, where will the power-hitting outfielder end up?
In order, from mostly likely to least likely, are the teams who I think will be vying for Young Master Holliday’s considerable skills.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cards know first hand of Holliday’s value. All he did in 63 games with them was hit .353 with 13 HRs and 55 RBI while compiling a Bonds-like 1.032 OPS. People will point and say, yeah, but look what he did in Oakland and in Colorado his last year. That’s a rookie point. First, he was injured for a third of the year in COL and in Oakland he was protected in the lineup by….Jason Giambi. Oye. That explains everything.
The Cards need somebody other than the streaky Ryan Ludwig protecting Albert Pujols. And Big Al certainly enjoyed Holliday hitting behind him, too. The Cards have the money, too. Will they choose to be a player? Oh, I think Big Al will have a Big Say in the matter.
What a mess Milton Bradley was in right field. Sweet Lou will be happy to see his tired act on another team. However, there’s an overwhelming factor that makes the Cubs a major player: Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez coming off injuries and surgeries, so the Cubs desperately need an every day power bat in the 3-hole if they want to pass the Cardinals.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Scott Boras pits the Cards and Cubs against each other.
Boston Red Sox
Jason Bay or Matt Holliday? One thing’s for sure: one of them will end up in Boston. Bay’s bat went somewhat silent down the stretch and into the playoffs. Then again, so did the entire Boston lineup. Bay’s older than Holliday, but his glove is superior. David Ortiz’s career is officially on the skid, so his bat will need to be replaced, making Holliday an ideal long-term replacement.
Boston may have other needs, however—particularly at third base. If they blow their wad on Holliday, can they afford an Adrian Beltre?
However, after getting screwed over by Boras in the A-Rod trade a few years ago, Sox management might not be so eager to deal with Boras and Holliday.
New York Yankees
After spending nearly half a billion dollars in free agents last year, are they game for potentially doling out for another 9-figure contract? Maybe. There are two big reasons for the Yanks to pursue Holliday: the need to fill out their aging and mildly punchless outfield and get younger. Holliday addresses both of those issues. However, even the Yanks need to mind payroll, so it’s entirely possible that they could resign Johnny Damon and World Series hero Hideki Matsui to 2 or 3-year deals for far less than what Holliday will cost.
I think they’re out of this race.
Are the other teams in the running? Let's hear them.
*ESPN.com, you can thank me for the “Happy Holliday” pun-y headline later. My apologies if I made you gag, Dear 3.5 readers.