Matt Holliday is one of the league's best hitters. I know this, so when I say it'd probably be in the team's best interest to trade him before he hits free agency, it's certainly with some regret.
Basically, I've come to this conclusion because of a variety of things. First, I know that the Monforts aren't going to sell out to some crazy billionaire willing to operate the team at a loss, and that's certainly within their rights. Second, I know how Todd Helton's contract has handicapped the team's ability to pursue other needed free agents in positions that would set us above our competition. I know that we've got a couple of special up the middle players in Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta (possibly one more in Dexter Fowler) and that ultimately these positions are where the team should be pouring the cash. Finally, I know that despite his stand-out abilities, Matt Holliday has some glaring weaknesses in his game that dampen the impact of his big bat. Two of these are addressed today in the Denver Post: the rally killing absence of his bat in clutch situations, and perhaps more importantly, the err... uhm... thing he calls defense, which of course, he gets defensive about.
Seriously, if Matt can make some significant improvement in these aspects of his game in 2007, he'd be in line for a much bigger Scott Boras aided payout when he does fly the coop, and the Rockies will reap the rewards for another season or two. I'm still not changing my mind, though. Eventually, we will need to bid him a fond adieu, but by adding a dimension (the defense) that Dante Bichette never had, when we do say farewell, it could be to the greatest LF in Rockies history.
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LaTroy Hawkins, who's getting a tattoo honoring his grandmother according to the Post's notes column..,
Note to any future grandchildren who might stumble upon an archive of this blog: seriously, you've got to do this for me. Just have it say "Rox Girl" in purple and black with the Rockies logo, that would be fine.
...anyway, LaTroy has a nice "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" sort of story as shared by Tracy Ringolsby at the Rocky Mountain News. Ringolsby cites Hawkins' durability, which is an asset, but I'm more worried about his efficacy. If Bob Apodaca can harvest from Hawkins the kind of season he got from Jose Mesa last year, than obviously we've done alright by this addition.
Hawkins hasn't had a below avereage ERA+ since 2001, but his numbers have been on the decline the last three seasons and last year he was just a tick above the "average" threshold. While a bounce back seems likely given the switch to the NL, what worries me most about this signing is the possibility of an injury to Fuentes forcing Hawkins into the closer's role, which he's been pretty bad at in the past. Let's just keep our fingers crossed nothing happens to Brian.