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The Holliday deal "will go down as one of the worst deals in major league history"

Jan 8, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal were on the same page with their Hall of Fame voting pieces this morning. They’re likewise on the same page in passing along disdain for the Matt Holliday deal too.  First was Robo talking about Boras’ bluff and now here’s Buster passing along two quotes regarding the Cardinals’ overpayment, the first from an MLB official:

“Given what was in front of the Cardinals, that will go down as
one of the worst deals in major league history. I have to give [Scott] Boras credit — he managed to get them to bid
against themselves. After the Mets signed [Jason] Bay, everybody pretty
much knew who was in and who was out. No Yankees, no Red Sox, no Mets,
no Dodgers, no Angels — and he still got $120 million. Incredible.”

And then one from a “veteran agent”:

“[When the Mets signed Bay] the Cardinals should have called [Boras] and said, ‘You
know that other offer we had on the table? Well, it’s obsolete. We’re
now offering you $80 million for five years, and you’ve got 48 hours to
make a decision.’ I don’t think Boras would have had a choice but to
make a deal.”

I agree that the Cardinals overpaid, at the very least in terms of years. I wonder, though, whether other teams would have come back into the bidding if a five-year, $80 million take-it-or-leave-it offer was on the table.  

  1. Moses Green - Jan 8, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    “Veteran Agent” (let’s just call him VetA) is offering stale and sour grapes. Boras is better at his job than VetA or any other agent, and it’s all well and good for VetA to play theoretical tough guy after the fact. Blah blah blah I would have done this and that blah blah blah they should have … what a load of self-serving crap. If VetA has such big cojones, then why doesn’t he allow his name to be used? Real tough guy, obviously, with the “no-name” quotes.
    Even if there’s a short-term gain, it’s not a good idea to play too rough with Boras. He controls a lot of premium players, and he remembers every slight.

  2. Simon DelMonte - Jan 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    If the Cardinals win just one title with Holliday and Pujols, I can’t imagine that this would be seen as a stupendously bad deal. Dumb, maybe. A drag on the team in five years, probably. But it really depends on what the Cards do.
    The next question, though, is how do the Cards pay for Pujols? If they can’t re-sign him, why bother with Holliday?

  3. Mike - Jan 8, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    As long as Baseball does not place a salary cap into these contracts with its players, you will continue to see these outrageous payouts! Just imagine what the total contract for Albert Pujols will be when he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2011 season – especially if he continues with the numbers he has accomplished over the last 9 years!! I expect it will be at least 25 million per year!!!!

  4. JollyRoger - Jan 8, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Unless the Cards wins a title within the next 2 years this contract will haunt them like the Soriano’s deal with the Cubs.
    Even if they can resign Pujols, chances are the combined salary of Holliday, Pujols and their top pitcher will be close to 50% of their payroll.
    Unless the Cards have a plethora of young, affordable pitching on the horizon they simply will not have sufficient payroll flexibility to acquire top shelf pitching.

  5. YANKEES1996 - Jan 8, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    I think the Holliday deal is a bad deal for the Cardinals, it puts pressure on getting a good deal for Pujols in a couple of seasons and they absolutely did get used by Boras. This deal and a new deal for Pujols will most likely result is a signifcant FIRE sale in St.Louis if they don’t contend because their resources will not match up to their liabilities, and that is bad business. I don’t like Boras or his ilk at all, I think these agents are bad for the game. However, if the owners are dumb enough to continually give out bad contracts and be taken advantage of it is not going to stop. The Cardinals should have put a take it or leave it offer on the table, they just should have done it before Bay signed not after!

  6. Albert - Jan 8, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Each MLB team has a set amount of money they can pay in salary every year without going into the red. It would appear that next years Cardinals will have a higher team payroll but will still lose some key players from last years team. So are they a better team in 2010 and beyond or worse. Are ticket, parking, and concession prices going up. You put down your money and take your chances. But should you pay more for less.

  7. JE - Jan 8, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    “I agree that the Cardinals overpaid, at the very least in terms of years. I wonder, though, whether other teams would have come back into the bidding if a five-year, $80 million take-it-or-leave-it offer was on the table.”
    Bullseye.

  8. CommonNow - Jan 8, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Albert – your post added absolutely nothing to this blog. You might as well have said “baseball will be played this summer and the Cardinals will be one of the teams”. Grow a backbone and say what you are thinking man.

  9. Albert - Jan 8, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    I didn’t know I would be writing for such simple minded people, but there’s one in every crowd. Let me lay out for you a little more simply. The Cardinals will be a worse baseball team next year and for years to come because of overpaying for Holliday. Because they overpaid Holliday, not enough money is available to pay other players on the team, especially since Albert Pujols and their ace pitchers will be receiving huge raises in a few years. Seventy percent of team payroll will be going to four players. They barely made the playoffs last year and lost players. So just like many other teams they have fallen into the trap of overpaying for free agents and are stuck with that decision.

  10. willmose - Jan 8, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    My, my, my. Can Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal tell me what stocks are going up? Surely the crystal ball can tell me that too. Time will tell. One of the worst deals ever? Zito, Brown, Soriano, Hampton, A-Rod, JD Drew, Carlos Lee, any Met deal over $60 million in the last 5 years, all come to mind as worst deals, and that is just off the top of my head. The Cardinal organization targeted Holliday as the guy they wanted last winter. The stuck with it and got him. Time will tell. But the deal is already better than the ones mentioned above and Holliday just started the contract yesterday. I think that the Cardinals got a steal. One of the worst deals ever? Buster, Ken pop your heads out of your backsides, shake the brown applesauce out of your ears, and go have a good cry because Matt didn’t see how important is to play in New York and to listen to small penised sportswriters.

  11. bunbun - Jan 8, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    celebrity nonsense. this is stupid

  12. john pileggi - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    Here is the question; The Cards are an good ball club run by intelligent people. What caused them to make this “awful” deal?

  13. amy - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    Anyone see a problem with the amounts any of these idiots get paid?
    I remember the first $1 million contract…this is disgusting and so are all of you who support this CRAP!

  14. seth - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Whats so awful about this deal? pujols wants to play for a competitive team and signing holliday to bat cleanup wasnt an easy task but they were willing to endure boras and get a deal done. this almost assures that Pujols will remain he has stated PUBLICLY that he would like to play 15 more years with the cardinals if possible (MLB.com). Also, the holliday deal is backloaded so he actually makes 16 million a year and then gets paid from 2020 to 2029 about 1.5 mil per season which is after his contract expires. Not bad for a 3 time allstar who is a complete player and actually outhit PUJOLS the 2nd half of the season. There have definately been worse deals that have been made. Locking up a great player to increase ur chances of signing possibly the greatest righthanded hitter ever isnt one of them. People just dont get the big picture

  15. Zoyd - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    I think you missed the point of the complaints about the contract. Noone else was seriously pursuing Holliday. Without any other offers that they felt they had to match, the Cardinals just significantly increased their offer anyway. Boras got the Cardinals to outbid themselves. Holliday is a talent, but the Cards could probably have had him at a much cheaper price if they had just shown some balls and stood up to Boras.

  16. Mike - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    You could almost see the infantile crying threw the print..wan wan wan..holliday should be a Phillie, a Met, a Yankee, a Cub, a Red Sock, a Dodger, an Angel…who told the Cards they could spend big money…wan wan wan. Get over your own inflated payrolls. If he would have signed with any of the aformentioned teams..the organization would have been praised to no end…like the Mets signing of Bay. Similar but shorter. Speaking of which were is the more important and actual viable argument that the Phils were idiots for giving up Cliff Lee, a younger pitcher, who held up well in Phily, for an older Roy Halladay who will cost much more? I guess we are held to a higher standard because we have no buisness doling out huge contracts and screwing with the higher payroll teams..we are supposed to be a hokey dokey mid market franchise and HOW DARE WE SIGN SOMEONE TO SUCH A BIG DEAL….we have no right to try and compete! And don’t worry, Pujols will be a Cardinal for life soon…so save your tears and blood clot crying for that issue. i wonder how will get crucified in the Media then. Maybe ESPN will plant a steroid scandal just to get back at Pujols for not leaving the Cards because they shouldn’t have two star hitters..wan wan wan. It’s just not fair right. Only the overspenders should be allowed to sign the best players. Funny how the whole story was holliday was the prize of free agency this winter, but then when St. Louis signs him it was all a mistake. How dare we! maybe we can beg Boras to let us out of the deal, so Holliday can sign with the Red Sox now or the Yankees. Such a mistake, we don’t belong in the elite.

  17. Mike - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Thanks Willmose..great points Zito wasn’t the worst deal, Soriano? Hunh. Oh that’s right it’s okay for those franchises to make mistakes..we’ll look past that..but how dare the Cards! How DARE THEY….

  18. Macy Wolfe - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    Any 7 year deal for a player like Holliday who is already mediocre defensively seems desperate and ill-thought. This can’t be about Pujols because next year’s free-agent market is much better than this year’s; so the Cards could have waited, saved some money and gone out for more value in a competitive market next season – a market that will yield more talent. Stupid move.
    I love this guy who acts like the media is somehow ganging-up on St. Louis – give me a break, dude. The media loves St. Louis baseball and always has – St. Louis is baseball town #2 outside of Yankee Stadiumd and the media just loves it. If anyone is crying it’s you, man – stop blaming the media for your own team’s sad move. The media is simply reporting what happened – and commenting on it – as they should. The deal sucks.

  19. Mike - Jan 8, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Now we get this idiotic argument that everyone is using..we overpaid Holliday..so we can’t resign Pujols..because our 2 aces are due for contracts too..well lets see..Carp will be 36 by the time his contract is up and will not be in the same pay range or may even retire. Wainwright will cost but will be our true ace and take over Carps salary…and pujols will be resigned no problem. The all you Big Town fans can wine cry and complain some more. Fact is, this is a big contract no lie, is it a bit high perhaps. Present Day Value is 16 mil a season….but for some strange reason all these Big City fans are worried about little ol us and our little ol payroll..well that’s cool, but we have every right to sign the high priced players too…really everyone is just mad because holliday was supposed to cost more and he was supposed to sign with the 150 mil payroll and up teams. Fact is we had the 8th highest payroll last season…and it will grow by the time this deal is up..and our owners understand that. We will be just fine you Big City fans don’t have to worry about little ol us. Worry about your own teams that spen 150 160 mil and still lose every year. I don’t mean the yankees or the Red Sox, they have won championships..but alot of your Big City teams *cough* Mets, *cough* Cubs

  20. Moses Green - Jan 8, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    I worry more about Dave Duncan than these big money guys. Dunc can take a sow’s ear and turn it into a silk purse. Don’t know how he does it. Guys leave and fall apart again. I’m not sure what he needs to do to get more attention, maybe he should rock back and forth on the bench during games or something.

  21. Omega in Colorado - Jan 8, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    Speaking as a Cubs fan, I can say I have all the respect in the world for the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Unless of course you are playing my beloved Cubbies, then all bets are off!
    Anyway, I am pretty shocked they would cough up this much money for Holliday. Yeah he is damned good at the plate and a smart base runner, but he is mediocre at best in the field, not a complete ballplayer in my opinion.
    Living in Colorado and following my Rockies as well, I know what I am talking about. Rockos don’t miss him a bit.
    Good luck you redbirds with this contract.

  22. Jimmy - Jan 8, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Agree with you, $80 million and the Yankees and Red Sox would’ve gone buck wild on the bidding.

  23. I am Providence - Jan 8, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    Wow. You really have quite the inferiority complex. As a Red Sox fan, I like seeing teams other than the Sox and Yankees spend money and sign big contracts. Do you honestly think that Sox fans believe that the Cardinals shouldn’t be allowed to spend big money? Holliday is a great player and he would have fit in nicely in left field in Fenway and pretty much every other park in the majors. He should be great for the Cardinals. The point is that the Cardinals could have had him for less money. It’s similar to what the Sox did with JD Drew, where they paid him much more than what anyone else was offering. I’m not comparing they’re skills, just their unnecessarily generous contracts.

  24. riscifiguy - Jan 8, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    Boras is bad for the game and for humanity in general.
    How much $ would it take for MLB to get him to just go away!

  25. riscifiguy - Jan 8, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    Boras is bad for the game and for humanity in general.
    How much $ would it take for MLB to get him to just go away!

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