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Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Matt Holliday Deal, Two Days After

Posted By on Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 5:39 AM

Page 2 of 3

Now for the bad. First, and the most immediately pressing issue right now, is the fact we're likely going to see significantly reduced playing time for Rasmus. Say what you want, defend La Russa as much as you like, but it's going to happen. You're just fooling yourself if you think Rick Ankiel is going to become just a fourth outfielder on a Tony La Russa led team. At the moment, it actually makes a bit of sense to sit Colby, as he's mired in a tough slump, fighting a sore heel, and could probably use some extra time to work on his swing and try to get things right. That does not, however, change the reality of Colby Rasmus being the future center fielder of the Cardinal organization. Colby is going to be here a long, long time, much longer than Rick Ankiel, and likely longer than La Russa himself. Colby Rasmus losing playing time to Rick Ankiel the rest of the season is a problem, and it's going to happen. There's nothing you or I or anyone else can do about it. 

You're going to hear a lot of people talking about resigning Holliday being a big component to whether or not this is a good trade. Do me a favour: when someone says that, punch them in the throat and tell them that's bullshit. It's bullshit because signing Holliday has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not this was a good deal. If the Cardinals wanted Holliday so badly, they could have simply waited for the offseason and signed him. In that case, they would have lost their first round draft pick in 2010, rather than their first round pick in 2008. Make no mistake, the Cardinals traded three players for two, maybe three months of Matt Holliday. The only way resigning Holliday factors in at all is if the Cards sign him to an extension before the end of the season. If that's the case, feel free to add that in. Otherwise, throat punches and yells of bullshit all around. Got it? 

Next, as for the package itself, I've already said the Cardinals gave up way too much, and I stand by that. Brett Wallace alone was more than enough for Matt Holliday; to give away two additional players is overpaying to a painful degree. The problem, of course, is Billy Beane had the trump card in this situation. If Beane hadn't gotten what he wanted for Holliday, he would have been perfectly happy to take the draft picks after the season. Thus, the Cardinals were put in the unfortunate position of not paying for Matt Holliday, but in fact having to exceed the value of Holliday plus a couple draft picks. It's one of the big reasons I'm almost never in favour of trading away young players for expensive veterans: you're paying a ton for the name on the back of the jersey, regardless of production, and then you start figuring in all the other valuations. When you trade for a guy like Matt Holliday, you're never going to get equal value for what you're giving up. 

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