When former Rockies’ outfielder Matt Holliday was asked about the prospects of returning to Colorado, he said, according to Casey Stern of MLB Network Radio: “I'd consider it for sure. Great young team. I'd be interested for a [number] of reasons.” While that’s a patently untitillating remark, Stern followed up with emotional layering. He said that Holliday was “CLEARLY very excited by the idea of returning to the Rockies.” CLEARLY.
There is no report here from the Rockies side, but this looks like a great match for a few reasons.
Holliday is coming off of a poor-for-him season but still above average season. He will be 37 next season. Couple that with the fact that he spent some time on the disabled list in 2016, and a move to first base makes sense if he’s to continue playing at all in the National League (he also profiles as a solid DH). Holliday wouldn’t be completely unfamiliar with the position, as he also played 10 games at first for the Cardinals last season.
More significantly, Holliday would fill a real need. It’s not clear who will play first base for the Rockies next season. Gerardo Parra would be a terrible person to rely on there, and it’s not clear that Jordan Patterson is ready to take on a full-time role. Signing Holliday, however, would create a nice platoon with Patterson. Patterson wouldn’t be exposed to lefties, and Holliday would get the time off needed to rest his aging bones.
In response to Stern’s comments above, Patrick Saunders wrote that “money could be an issue.” It’s true that Holliday wouldn’t be as cheap as a scrap heap free agent, but that’s because he’s better than that. He wouldn’t cost much in terms of years. The Rockies would very likely be able to get Holliday on a two year contract (perhaps expiring right when Ryan McMahon is ready), though it would likely cost at least $10 million per year.
Two recent free agents that are good comparisons are the two years $21 million the Mets gave Michael Cuddyer and the two years and $25 million contract the White Sox gave Adam LaRoche before the 2015 season, both prior to each player’s age-35 season, two years younger than Holliday. They were also coming off of better seasons. A two-year contract worth about $20 million seems reasonable as well as doable.
And let’s not ignore the sentimental factor. Having Holliday return to the place where he started to finish his career would be extremely satisfying from a fan’s perspective. It would really, truly, a lot of fun. Add in the possibility that he could contribute to a very good team, and the story just gets better.
Holliday sure sounds willing to entertain the idea, so now it’s up to the Rockies to see how he fits in with other possible first base options.