Troy Renck says that everybody except "some fans and writers" became winners when Matt Holliday signed with St. Louis for seven years, $120 million yesterday. Holliday won because that's a boatload of money, ditto for his agent Scott Boras, who did eventually get the Heltonesque contract he was seeking from the Rockies for the left fielder. The Rockies won because they didn't have to pay that boatload of money, the Cardinals won because they get Holliday and Renck wins because he can do the "You're wrong, nyah nyah nyah" dance to Tracy Ringolsby.
Personally, I don't buy the everybody wins except some fans and writers scenario. Yes, Holliday and Boras win, and this yet again shows that the agent can still come through for his top clients. In the last two seasons we've seen him use the Orioles as a particularly effective stooge for both Mark Teixeira and Holliday to drive up the final payout. Yes, the Rockies win for all the reasons Renck states.
According to FanGraphs, last season, the Rockies wound up getting 26 runs of value above average from their left fielders, while Holliday gave them 46 RAA in 2008. The $15 million plus difference in salary between Holliday and the Rockies who will play left in 2009 is justified if the difference remains two wins. The problem is that it's not likely to. Holliday dipped to just over 33 runs of value in 2009, and will turn 30 just over a week from now. This brings me to the fact that there is a loser besides some fans and writers in this shakedown, and that's the team that committed to signing the player for too many years at a superstar rate.
Matt Klaasen at FanGraphs agrees with me, while the Cardinals fans at Viva El Birdos have a good handle on the situation as well, although they come down in agreement with Renck that it's good for their club. It's a good deal for them right now, but three or four years down the road, it's going to start to hurt.
One thing we do know, the Holliday signing is immediately limiting the ability of the Cardinals to address other team needs, and with a prospect pipeline that's basically run dry after graduating Colby Rasmus and trading other young chips to acquire Holliday and other players last season, the Cardinals will be more reliant on fix-em-up free agent projects when it comes to filling holes (lucky for them their pitching coach Dave Duncan does well with those). Mid-season acquisitions should also be expected to be second tier.
In a separate article, Renck provides some more details on Chris Iannetta's contract with the team, as that became official. The Rockies have really become sort of formulaic with that option year that can get voided if the player gets traded, and I've yet to see that detail really catch on with other teams. Actually, I haven't seen too many other teams locking up their young players at all this winter, with Franklin Gutierrez' impending deal with the Mariners and Kelly Shoppach's deal with the Rays being two notable recent exceptions. Still, it only seems a handful of teams are getting these deals done at all.
The Shoppach deal with the Rays is interesting to compare given that Tampa also offered Dioner Navarro arbitration and the Rockies gave a starting catcher level pursuit to free agent Yorvit Torrealba before taking a small step back to settle with Miguel Olivo. It seems that several smart teams are protecting their backstop investments from the usual wear and tear of the position by doubling up on them. This gives another reason to wonder about the direction of the Dodgers.
Thomas Harding in a mailbag is saying that Jason Giambi could be coming back to the Rockies next season, as there apparently isn't a lot of interest in the slugger outside Colorado right now. The big issue with Giambi is that few NL teams have the roster space to carry a DH on the bench, and I really don't know if the Rockies do either. Signing Giambi would almost have to preclude signing a right handed corner player who could sub for either Todd Helton or Ian Stewart, and as fun as the idea of having that late game threat that Giambi provides all season, the team would still be really vulnerable to left handed pitchers.
The Hall of Fame results will be announced shortly. We'll probably put up a new post for that.
We know of one sure fire HOFer five years from now. Longtime Rockies nemesis Randy Johnson announced his retirement.
Adam LaRoche turned down the Giants offer of 2 years/$17 million, and apparently they've cooled on pursuing him.
Former Rockie Bobby Keppel was released from the Twins. For fun, I took a look at the four game threads that he pitched in for us all in late April of 2007. Then I remembered that it wasn't so fun. That was very much in the bad part of 2007.