Matt Holliday: The 2 Trades

Before the 2009 season, the Oakland A’s made a win now move.  They acquired superstar left fielder Matt Holliday from the Colorado Rockies.  They gave up three players,

  • Previously untouchable OF prospect Carlos Gonzalez
  • Closer Huston Street
  • LH starting pitcher Greg Smith

Gonzalez hasn’t hit well in the majors yet, but he has been destroying pitching at Class AAA Colorado Springs to the tune of a .339/.418/.630 line, and is still only 23 years old.

Street is having a renaissance season in Colorado, his numbers closely mirror his numbers in his fantastic 2006 season.

Smith is a nobody.  He has bottomed out in the majors, and has been bombed at Triple-A.  He has found some sucess at Class A+ Modesto, but that seems to be the extent of his abilities.

In his three months as a Oakland Athletic Holliday hit for a .286/.378/.454 line.  Solid, but no spectacular, and nowhere near his production from 2006-2008.  More importantly perhaps, Holliday gave A’s fans hope.  Hope increases ticket sales, Holliday provided a valuable marketing boost.  He also took pressure of prospect Aaron Cunningham, who was set to take over in left field.

When Oakland flipped him to St. Louis, they received three players,

  • top infield prospect Brett Wallace
  • Class AA 1B/OF Shane Peterson
  • RHP Clayton Mortensen
  • No compensation draft picks

Brett Wallace, the Cardinals’ first-round selection in the 2008 draft is the kind of hitter that the Oakland front office loves.  A patient hitter who draws his walks, and hits his 20-25 homeruns and 35 doubles.  He isn’t the best defender, but should fill the gaping hole that Oakland has had at third base ever since Eric Chavez met the injury bug.

Shane Peterson is a  power/speed guy with good defense in the outfield and at first base.  His tools profile best as a center fielder.  If he can stick in centerfield he will be a valuable starter, if not, a top bench player.

Clayton Mortensen, another former first-round draft pick is a starting pitcher with okay rate stats who could develop into a fifth starter.  Think of him as Greg Smith+.

In acquiring Matt Holliday, Oakland received a much needed marketing boost, and was able to get rid of a horrible pitcher, and a pitcher they didn’t need, really, all the gave up was Carlos Gonzalez, who still hasn’t proved himself in the majors.  After falling out of contention, Holliday was flipped for another top prospect, one that fills one of Oakland’s most glaring needs, a promising versatile outfielder, and an extra 50/50 risk player.  St. Louis adds a threatening bat to the lineup to go with the game’s best player, Albert Pujols.  But will it push them to the playoffs, right now I don’t think so.  Right now this trade is a win for the A’s, but the Cardinals could even it out with a playoff drive.


  1. juliasrants

    I know that Holliday had a good game last night – but it will be interesting to see how he does over the rest of the season. A change of team is sometimes all a player needs to suddenly get hot. There are many who think that will happen to Matt.


  2. raysfanboy

    I think that Holliday will heat up now that he is surrounded by good hitting, good pitching, a relatively weak division, and the excitement that comes with a winning atmosphere. I am hoping he busts (for the Cubs’ sakes) but I don’t see it happening.

  3. santosis

    I like your take on the acquisition of Holliday as a marketing move–that makes sense. I would add that Beane did think this A’s team could compete in the AL West in what looked like a down year; this season has to be a complete disappointment to him.

    I wrote a post a few weeks back on the “Coors Field” effect. To summarize: it is highly unlikely that Matt Holliday is going to suddenly get hot. Holliday’s career numbers AWAY from Coors Field: .280-.351-.449. That’s an .800 OPS. Take away the elevation, and that’s all he is at the plate. He’s a solid fielder, and offers speed on the base paths, but he is really, really far from what those career numbers would lead us to expect.

    • paintingtheblack

      Holliday did eventually adjust to the Oakland Coliseum, ending with a OPS over .800. But you’re correct in saying that Coors made Matt Holliday. What is your blog URL? I was looking for it, but couldn’t find it.

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