Posted by Steve
The Cardinals made a big move today, trading three players for Matt Holliday. They gave up last year’s first round pick and Baseball America’s 21st ranked prospect according to their mid-season rankings, third baseman Brett Wallace. They also got AAA pitcher Clayton Mortenson and AA outfielder Shane Peterson.
I’m not going to act like I’m happy that the Cardinals made this move, because as of today this makes them the favorites in the NL Central. But I definitely wouldn’t be pleased if I was a Cardinals fan. They gave up at least as much as the Brewers gave up for CC Sabathia, except they’re getting back a player who won’t have nearly the same impact. Holliday is a free agent at the end of the season, so he’s a rental just like Sabathia. If Wallace can stick at third, he’s more valuable than Matt LaPorta, the centerpiece of the Sabathia deal.
Here’s some pretty revealing analysis by fangraphs. You’ll notice they have this trade as very lopsided in Oakland’s favor, and that’s when they assumed it would be just Wallace going for Holliday instead of two additional players. Fangraphs had the Brewers trade for CC as a wash last year. Again, that’s because an ace pitcher is that much more valuable than a good but not great corner outfielder.
This is exactly what Billy Beane had in mind when he traded for Holliday in the off-season. He took a shot at having a winning team, but you know he figured he’d end up flipping Holliday at the deadline. He definitely came out ahead because he got back more value than he gave up to get Holliday in the first place.
Again, this is bad news for this season. If the Brewers don’t make a pretty big move for a pitcher, they probably won’t win the division. If you listen to ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian, we should really be worried. He says this is a great trade for the Cards because Matt Holliday “is a real baseball player. He’s going to a real baseball town. He is a perfect match. He’s playing for Tony LaRussa. He’s the son of a coach.”
This is of course in direct contrast to Brett Wallace, who is the son of a traveling salesman, from a town more inclined to embrace football and is, in fact, a virtual baseball player.