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Is Matt Holliday long for St. Louis?

Sep 11, 2009, 10:25 AM EDT

You know the story by now: a veteran comes to St. Louis, loves it there, wins some games, falls for all of that “best fans in baseball business” and decides to make it a home.  Jim Edmonds is the best example of it.  Come to think of it, he might be the only significant example.  Still, that meme seems to hold true for some reason, at least in the minds of Cardinal fans.

A lot of people figured that Matt Holliday might fit that profile too.  Financially speaking he probably screwed up in not taking the Rockies’ last contract offer, and he was more or less lost in Oakland the first part of this year, making him a less attractive free agent in the minds of many.  Plus he has Scott Boras for an agent, making things even more prickly.  Given his post-trade surge, he seems like a great candidate to say “hey, this is a great situation!  I have Albert Pujols hitting in front of me, fans who love me, and a lot of weak NL Central pitching to feast on.  I’m staying!”

Not so fast says ESPN’s Buster Olney (sorry; link is to Insider material).  Olney takes a look at the Cardinals’ business plan over the past few years and makes a pretty good case that Holliday will not be seriously pursued by the club.  St. Louis doesn’t seem to want a $100M+ payroll if they can help it, they’re going to sign DeRosa, and Pujols, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are going to get more expensive over the course of any hypothetical Matt Holliday deal.

Olney thinks that leaves Holliday the odd man out.  In fact, he thinks Holliday will sign with the Angels.  I’m inclined to agree with the “Holliday won’t come back” part, but you have to figure that Anaheim wasn’t all that impressed by what they saw of him while he played for the A’s.  Plus, you have to figure that Holliday will want to stay in NL given his little jaunt around the junior circuit this summer.

As for the Cardinals, if they don’t bring him back, I presume that they’ll keep up the same old model: see if they can win with Albert, some pitching and a prayer.  If that’s not working by July, they’ll rent a bat for the second half, and hope that the Cubs don’t figure things out in the meantime.

Not a bad plan, really.  Especially the part that depends on the Cubs to self-destruct at one point or another. 

  1. Bill@TDS - Sep 11, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Isn’t Mark McGwire an example of that, too? Kind of THE example, all the post-retirement stuff notwithstanding?
    I’m with you on Holliday. The AL can’t look too attractive to him right now, especially the West. 18 games a year in McAfee and Safeco should probably be avoided.

  2. Ben - Sep 11, 2009 at 12:34 PM

    Scott Rolen also.

  3. Jeff - Sep 11, 2009 at 1:55 PM

    Chris Carpenter?

  4. Steve - Sep 11, 2009 at 2:13 PM

    What about Albert Pujols? Sure when he got his current contract, the Cards still held exclusive rights, but he could have left for free agency 3 years ago had he not wanted to stick around and test the free agent market.

  5. Jeff - Sep 11, 2009 at 5:56 PM

    Larry Walker

  6. Grant - Sep 11, 2009 at 6:38 PM

    Walker was the one that came to mind for me.

  7. CAJ - Sep 11, 2009 at 9:14 PM

    Will Clark. .aka Will the Thrill!

  8. fsuga - Sep 12, 2009 at 12:08 AM

    Good God, most of you posters have no idea what you are talking about. McGwire did not just come over as a little rent-a-player who decided to stay, he came over to be reunited with TLR. His contract situation was also vastly different from Holliday’s.
    Will Clark had a whopping 171 ABs as a Cardinal, so he doesn’t count. Larry Walker did not even play a full season’s worth of games as a Redbird. Two guys coming over in the final year of their careers DO NOT compare to the current situation at all.
    And some complete knucklehead mentions Carpenter…He signed as a free agent. He didn’t get traded and then was seduced by the fans and chose to stay. He came over b/c the Cards were willing to pay him to come.
    The guy is right, aside from Edmunds, there really isn’t another example.
    Think before you post though.

  9. clarence - Sep 12, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    Scott Rolen was too injury prone and an a-hole. There is still nobody that wants him.
    Larry walker was over the hill, his best years were way behind him. He didn’t do anything after leaving St. Louis.
    Will Clark? Yeah right!!!!
    Mark Mcsteroid doesn’t count.

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