It hasn’t happened yet, but it will happen. Matt Holliday is in the Rockies organization and annihilating Triple-A pitching. The Rockies have room on their bench for an extra bat and some expendable occupants on the 40-man roster. Sooner or later, Holliday is going to play for the Rockies again.
Holliday is a unique player in Rockies history. He’s a top ten player among everyone who’s played for Colorado, and yet most of Holliday’s career production came elsewhere. He played eight seasons for the Cardinals compared to the five he played for the Rockies, and he put up eight more rWAR in St. Louis. Holliday’s an iconic Rockies player who had more good seasons as a member of a different team than with the Rockies.
But those years in Colorado were special. The seventh round draft pick debuted in 2004. He had a pretty good rookie season — good enough for fifth place in the Rookie of the Year vote. In 2005 Holliday improved, but he really took things to another level starting in 2006. From that season until his final one in Denver in 2008, Holliday had a 142 OPS+ and averaged about five WAR per season. His Colorado masterpiece came in 2007, when he hit .340/.405/.607 and finished second in the NL MVP vote.
He also managed to touch home plate to win game 163 and hit a crucial three-run home run in the clinching game of the National League Championship Series. So yeah, Matt has a special place in Rockies history.
It would be fun and exciting for Holliday to return to the Rockies at any point. But imagine a scenario other than what we have right now. Imagine if the Rockies signed Holliday to a minor-league deal in August as the team fought the Padres for fourth place in the NL West. Maybe he’d show up for junk time in September, possibly before. It would be cool to see Holliday back with the Rockies, but it would feel like nothing more than a novelty.
2018 is turning out to be special too, though. The Rockies are playing great baseball, are poised to contend into September, and have an excellent shot at their first division title. The idea of Holliday wearing a Rockies uniform in 2018 and helping the Rockies win important games in a playoff race should excite all Rockies fans. Even better, there’s the real possibility of seeing Holliday celebrating a clinching victory alongside Nolan Arenado and Carlos González. The commingling of Rockies eras may be too much to take. All that would be needed is for Larry Walker or Andres Galarraga to show up and enter the scrum.
If the Rockies have any sense of the needs of their fans, they will make sure Holliday dons a sleeveless black vest sooner rather than later. And if the universe has any sense of a good story, Holliday will be a part of the Rockies successful run to the 2018 postseason.