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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Cardinals - Signed Holliday

St. Louis Cardinals - Signed OF Matt Holliday to a 7-year, $120 million contract.

A big one and a big risk.  The latter isn’t because of any ability foibles but simply because the Cardinals absolutely must sign Pujols as well.  Now, the team isn’t cheap, but with $40 million (at least) tied up in 2 players, the organization is going to have to start developing more players that usual in-house and even more Dave Duncan Specials, because this will make it harder to bring in Lohses and Pennies for $10 million per.  On the plus side, there is at least some cost certainty in a lot of places, with Wainwright and Carpenter locked up for the next few years, but the team’s going to have to eventually choose one (I’d choose the former, given their ages and injury histories).

No doubt comparisons will be made between the Bay and Holliday signings, but honestly, I feel (and ZiPS agrees) that Holliday’s a better player.  If you give Bay a break on his defensive stats because of Fenway, he’s still likely 10 runs or so below-average and if you knock off 5 of Holliday’s combined UZR/RTZ/Dial range numbers of recent years because you think they overrated Holliday, Holliday’s still 5-10 runs a year better than Bay in the field.  There’s also the additional year and the fact that Holliday is a more well-rounded hitter than Bay, with less of an emphasis on old players’ skills.  Bay’s certainly not slow, but he’s had quite a dropoff in singles and doubles in recent years (Fenway being an incredible doubles park has obscured the fact that Bay’s more reliant on home runs).

There’s an 8th year in this contract, but Holliday has to finish in the Top 10 in the MVP voting in 2016 for it to vest at $17 million.  If he’s still good enough that he’s doing that in the 8th year, he’ll certainly be worth a 1-year, $17 million contract at the time.

More signings to come, but I need to finish Giants ZiPS first.

ZiPS Projection - Matt Holliday (LF)
————————————————————————————————————————-
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA OBP SLG OPS+  DEF
————————————————————————————————————————-
2010       562 104 173 38   4 26 125 66 112 10 .308 .387 .528 143   AV    
2011       543 99 165 35   3 25 120 64 110   9 .304 .384 .517 139   AV
2012       539 97 163 35   3 24 119 62 113   9 .302 .381 .512 137   AV
2013       534 95 158 33   3 24 117 61 116   9 .296 .375 .504 133   AV
2014       503 88 146 30   3 22 109 57 112   8 .290 .370 .493 129   AV
2015       468 80 133 27   2 19 100 53 107   6 .284 .364 .472 123   FR
2016       422 71 118 24   2 16   91 46 99   5 .280 .358 .460 118   FR
2017       381 62 105 21   2 14   82 41 92   3 .276 .354 .451 115   FR
————————————————————————————————————————-
Top Near-Age Offensive Comps:  Larry Hisle, Bernard Gilkey, George Foster

Dan Szymborski Posted: January 06, 2010 at 07:32 PM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 09:18 PM (#3429973)
Gilkey. Ouch.
   2. zonk Posted: January 06, 2010 at 09:29 PM (#3429985)
Gilkey. Ouch.


No kidding. I thought this was a pretty good signing - but if Holliday ages to those comps, wow. Foster was worse than mediocre by age 33. Hisle was done by 32. Gilkey was Gilkey.

I think Holliday will be fine, but any sort of Dale Murphy cliff dive and the Cards are looking at a Soriano situation.
   3. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: January 06, 2010 at 09:39 PM (#3429998)
There's an 8th year in this contract, but Holliday has to finish in the Top 10 in the MVP voting in 2016 for it to vest at $17 million. If he's still good enough that he's doing that in the 8th year, he'll certainly be worth a 1-year, $17 million contract at the time.
i could be wrong, but didn't the BBWAA put in a rule that said no player with a bonus clause in his contract that vested based on a BBWAA vote would be eligible to receive votes?
   4. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: January 06, 2010 at 09:45 PM (#3430004)
i could be wrong, but didn't the BBWAA put in a rule that said no player with a bonus clause in his contract that vested based on a BBWAA vote would be eligible to receive votes?

No, although some newspapers refuse to let their writers vote on these awards for precisely for this reason.
   5. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 06, 2010 at 09:51 PM (#3430015)
And Vazquez got like 70k or so from Keith Law this year, for that very reason. Speaking of, was there a TO for that trade, or is it still in the queue?
   6. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: January 06, 2010 at 10:01 PM (#3430041)
I think this is going to look bad about three years from now.

While we're all making wishes for Szymborski Claus, I'd love to see what Kelly Johnson's projection is for the D-Backs . . .
   7. Willie Mayspedes Posted: January 06, 2010 at 10:41 PM (#3430096)
I envision Holliday as being a guy whose batting average goes down but his HR's go up in his early to mid 30's. Just a hunch though.
   8. alskor Posted: January 06, 2010 at 11:24 PM (#3430143)
Where's the Beltre TO??
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 06, 2010 at 11:30 PM (#3430154)
Where's the Miguel Olivo TO?
   10. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: January 06, 2010 at 11:39 PM (#3430166)
Where's my youth?
   11. zenbitz Posted: January 06, 2010 at 11:55 PM (#3430188)
Here Dan, I'll save you some time by projecting the Giants hitters for you:

Kung Fu Panda .330/.370/.512
Edgar Renteria .240/.250/.260
Everyone else .270/.310/.405
   12. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 06, 2010 at 11:57 PM (#3430191)
Mother of God, this is too much money for too many years.
   13. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 07, 2010 at 12:03 AM (#3430198)
Also: George Foster?
   14. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 07, 2010 at 12:31 AM (#3430231)
I have not seen him play much, so perhaps I don't appreciate him as I've come to appreciate Teixeira, for example. But I agree with Voxter in #12. I'd be a bit mad at the Yankees for giving out that much money over that many years for this particular guy.
   15. Johnny Tuttle Posted: January 07, 2010 at 02:32 PM (#3430593)
I actually like this for the Cardinals. It's overpaying, for sure, but you've got the best player in baseball, and some small semblance of going all in now matters during his peak. With their best 2 SP, some semblance of breakouts from Rasmus and a handful of other youngsters (Motte?), and a few low end bargains (something the team's well known for), they can make a lot of hay in the NL Central. Sure, the backend of the deal will be tough, but there are a whole lot of teams in far, far worse situations.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 07, 2010 at 03:20 PM (#3430616)
I have not seen him play much, so perhaps I don't appreciate him as I've come to appreciate Teixeira, for example. But I agree with Voxter in #12. I'd be a bit mad at the Yankees for giving out that much money over that many years for this particular guy.

He's as good a Teixeira. I'd have been thrilled if the Yankees gave him this deal.

Holliday is something like a 5-6 WAR player.
   17. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: January 07, 2010 at 03:23 PM (#3430617)
I have not seen him play much, so perhaps I don't appreciate him as I've come to appreciate Teixeira, for example. But I agree with Voxter in #12. I'd be a bit mad at the Yankees for giving out that much money over that many years for this particular guy

This is the attitude I don't understand. I've heard/seen a lot of Yankee fans echo this sentiment, but it makes no sense to me given that I view them as essentially the same player and Holliday's contract is friendlier than Teix's. I can see not wanting both on the same team, but in a vacuum, who wouldn't take Holliday? 5 years of 129 or better with average or better defense at 17 per? The last 2 years may not be as fun, but I feel the last 3 or 4 years of the Teix deal could be worse.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 07, 2010 at 03:27 PM (#3430621)
This is the attitude I don't understand. I've heard/seen a lot of Yankee fans echo this sentiment, but it makes no sense to me given that I view them as essentially the same player and Holliday's contract is friendlier than Teix's. I can see not wanting both on the same team, but in a vacuum, who wouldn't take Holliday? 5 years of 129 or better with average or better defense at 17 per? The last 2 years may not be as fun, but I feel the last 3 or 4 years of the Teix deal could be worse.

Agreed. It seems like a lot of people are convinced Teixeira is a great defender (I think he's good) and Holliday a terrible defender (I think he's also good) for no apparent reason.

Either that, or they're heavily discounting Holliday's Coors stats. Although, I'd have thought the StL performance would have layed that to rest.
   19. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 07, 2010 at 03:52 PM (#3430649)
...a lot of people are convinced ... Holliday a terrible defender...

He got hit in the nuts by a batted ball. Of course, so did Adrian Beltre.

Anyway, I think Teixeira is a somewhat more valuable player than Holliday -- they're the same age and Teixeira's been a slightly better hitter over 1,000 more PA. But Teixeira's offense gets compared to a better group of hitters at 1B than Holliday's peers in LF. Holliday's been a better baserunner, but I don't expect him to ever steal 28 bases again.
   20. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: January 07, 2010 at 03:54 PM (#3430653)
they're the same age and Teixeira's been a slightly better hitter over 1,000 more PA. But Teixeira's offense gets compared to a better group of hitters at 1B than Holliday's peers in LF.

Isn't that evidence of Holliday's superiority?
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 07, 2010 at 04:20 PM (#3430696)
Anyway, I think Teixeira is a somewhat more valuable player than Holliday -- they're the same age and Teixeira's been a slightly better hitter over 1,000 more PA.

I'm just not seeing the superiority. OPS+ Tex 136 Holliday 133, wRC+ Tex 138, Holliday 139

They're equivalent offensive players, unless you don't think the park adjustments for Coors are sufficient (i.e. Holliday took more advantage of Coors than the park factors suggest).
   22. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 07, 2010 at 04:30 PM (#3430712)
Isn't that evidence of Holliday's superiority?

No. I think it's more than reasonable to group 1B with LF.

I'm just not seeing the superiority. OPS+ Tex 136 Holliday 133, wRC+ Tex 138, Holliday 139

They're equivalent offensive players


I said "slightly better" and I also said "hitter." Plus, I think the fact that one of them was good enough to play regularly in MLB when he was a year and a half younger is meaningful. Also, OPS+ by season:

Holliday: 151, 139, 138, 137, 114, 103
Teixeira: 152, 149, 149, 144, 131, 126, 102
   23. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 07, 2010 at 11:16 PM (#3431348)
Matt Holliday is not as good a hitter as Mark Teixeira. Claiming that he is is a dissemblance at best.

That said, I thought Tex's contract was crappy, too, though the Yankees, unlike the Cardinals, can afford to absorb the hit, both in terms of $ and in terms of being able to stick him at DH.

It's not just that the last two years of Holliday's contract are likely to be stinkers. It's that MORE THAN HALF of it could very well turn out crap. He's not a superstar. Seven years is much too long for a player of his caliber.
   24. DCW3 Posted: January 07, 2010 at 11:22 PM (#3431359)
He's not a superstar.

I am so, so, so sick of people saying this. If Holliday's not a superstar, then the number of superstars in MLB can be practically counted on one hand.
   25. CraigK Posted: January 07, 2010 at 11:26 PM (#3431366)
Speaking of Cardinals, I wonder if ZiPS can run a projection on a 46-year-old that hasn't played since 2001.
   26. Davo Dozier Posted: January 07, 2010 at 11:44 PM (#3431392)
Speaking of Cardinals, I wonder if ZiPS can run a projection on a 46-year-old that hasn't played since 2001.


Yeah.

.000/.000/.000
   27. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 08, 2010 at 12:29 AM (#3431430)
I actually have a no play algorithm.

2002: 227/369/574 (141 AB)
2003: 211/357/533 (90 AB)
2004: 169/294/437 (71 AB)
2005: 175/306/425 (40 AB)
2006: 148/281/370 (27 AB)
2007: 167/286/333 (18 AB)
2008: 182/308/455 (11 AB)
2009: 125/222/500 (8 AB)
2010: 200/333/200 (5 AB)
   28. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: January 08, 2010 at 12:34 AM (#3431436)
I actually have a no play algorithm.
so long as that's booted up, could you spit out a chad cordero line? it appears he's been signed by the mariners.
   29. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 08, 2010 at 01:10 AM (#3431457)
Heh, I kind of owe it to you after bailing on Polanco!

1-1, 4.44, 24.1 IP, 24 H, 3 HR, 10 BB, 19 K, ERA+ 100
   30. PreservedFish Posted: January 08, 2010 at 01:48 AM (#3431475)
Aw man, McGwire finally loses his yearly homerun. Should have come back last year when he still had it in him.
   31. Something Other Posted: January 08, 2010 at 04:56 AM (#3431543)
I'm pretty sure the early consensus was that Holliday for 6/100 would be a steal, so it's difficult for me to see this as a bad contract. Too, that it's reasonable to project Holliday to have twice the WAR as Jason Bay in 2010 in spite of their contracts being extremely similar in AAV, with Bay's 2014 option apparently being much easier to reach than Holliday's 2017 option, mystifies me.
   32. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 08, 2010 at 01:22 PM (#3431621)
I am so, so, so sick of people saying this.


I'll stop saying it when it stops being true. The idea that the number of players better than Holliday in baseball -- the number who you would take over the next few years -- is less than five is silly on its face. I suppose we could get into semantics, but it's not like there's a rule that there has to be one superstar per team or anything. He's a 30-year-old late bloomer. Going forward -- starting next season -- I could probably name a dozen guys off the top of my head that I'd rather have. And that's without putting any particularly deep thought into the matter.

Look, I'm not saying that Matt Holliday is not a good player. Or that he's not a very good player. I'm saying he's a guy you don't want to be paying for the next seven seasons. He's a good hitter, but not a great one. He's on the far left end of the defensive spectrum. He's not as bad a fielder as the ball-to-the-#### footage would make one think, but I have grave doubts about the likelihood that he's a significant asset with the glove. He most emphatically is not a superstar. The idea that he is seems to me to be built on an overconfidence in junky catchall stats and an overestimation of the efficacy of the humidor.

Let's think about it like this: Suppose Holliday experiences a significant deterioriation in his defensive skills over the next few years, which is a near certainty. Even given the shaky assumption that he remains a 300/400/500-type hitter, he ceases be "very good" and falls down to "good". If his offense slips, which it definitely could as soon as next season and almost certainly will over the next 4-5 seasons, AND his defense slips, well, then, he's not particularly good anymore.

I'm not so dim as to base my assertions on something like his career road splits, by the way, which I think is something that really gets under the skin of Holliday's backers. Those are slightly worrying but not something to put one's faith in. I'm basing my assertions on a fairly basic application of the inexorable logic of age to the skillset of Matt Holliday. It requires no contortions or gyrations to get to this evaluations; it takes a realistic eye for his skills and abilities and how they're likely to fare over the next seven years.

Matt Holliday is a good player. He's not worth this contract, which strikes me as so clear as to be borderline obvious.
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 08, 2010 at 02:01 PM (#3431631)
Going forward -- starting next season -- I could probably name a dozen guys off the top of my head that I'd rather have.
Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Hanley Ramirez, Evan Longoria, Chase Utley, Alex Rodriguez, those are the best players in the game. I'll give you Adrian Gonzalez. Who else?

Teixeira and Holliday are pretty interchangeable, though a reasonable case for Teixeira can be made. Cabrera and Fielder are better hitters, but both of them come with uncertainty and questionable defense. Dustin Pedroia if you love his defense, maybe. David Wright if last year was a fluke. Grady Sizemore, if he's healthy.
The idea that he is seems to me to be built on an overconfidence in junky catchall stats and an overestimation of the efficacy of the humidor.
Can you explain why Holliday's VORP and wOBA numbers fail to capture his quality? I'm skeptical of BIS-UZR part of WAR, but all of the aggregate context-neutralized offensive number have Holliday as something like the 5th-15th best hitter in the game over the last several years, accounting for position. What are they missing?
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 08, 2010 at 03:14 PM (#3431681)
Even given the shaky assumption that he remains a 300/400/500-type hitter, he ceases be "very good" and falls down to "good".

Wait, what? You think a 900 OPS hitter is just "good"?

He's a 30-year-old late bloomer.

He was an above average regular at 24, that's not really a "late bloomer".

He's on the far left end of the defensive spectrum.

No. He's an above average LF. He's still got 1B and DH further left.

The idea that he is seems to me to be built on an overconfidence in junky catchall stats and an overestimation of the efficacy of the humidor.

wOBA, OPS, OPS+, BA, SLG, OBA. Are those the junky catchall stats?

Over the last 5 years Holliday is 322/393/553/946 137 OPS+ (16th in MLB), 139 career wRC+, .400 career wOBA

That's just a fantastic hitter.
   35. Cris E Posted: January 08, 2010 at 05:10 PM (#3431822)
He's still got 1B and DH further left.

Part of what makes this a hard contract to get excited about is that he better not have those options. The contract says stud but the NL rules and the STL roster say that he's already as far left as he can go. Giving him that kind of money for that many years puts him in Carlos Lee territory if his performance falls off. Of course there's risk when signing top players to top contracts, but usually the guy is the best player and you are in a position to move things around to accommodate him. That's not where STL is right now. (Plus I think seven years is just a lot in general for mostly anyone, and doubly so in the NL.)
   36. DCW3 Posted: January 08, 2010 at 06:02 PM (#3431875)
Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Hanley Ramirez, Evan Longoria, Chase Utley, Alex Rodriguez, those are the best players in the game.

I'm not even sure I'd take A-Rod over Holliday--he's 34 years old, in offensive decline, probably less valuable defensively than Holliday (a bad 3B's about on par with a decent corner OF), and he's missed 62 games over the last two years.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 08, 2010 at 06:12 PM (#3431893)
Part of what makes this a hard contract to get excited about is that he better not have those options. The contract says stud but the NL rules and the STL roster say that he's already as far left as he can go.

Well, you can always trade him if he can still hit and needs to DH or play 1B. I doubt that happens before year 6 or 7 of the deal.
   38. Mark S. is bored Posted: January 08, 2010 at 06:46 PM (#3431937)
I'm not even sure I'd take A-Rod over Holliday--he's 34 years old, in offensive decline, probably less valuable defensively than Holliday (a bad 3B's about on par with a decent corner OF), and he's missed 62 games over the last two years.


Arod the last two years: 262 games 1129 PA .295/.397/.553 148 OPS+
Holliday same two years: 295 games 1293 PA .317/.401/.526 139 OPS+
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 08, 2010 at 06:54 PM (#3431947)
Arod the last two years: 262 games 1129 PA .295/.397/.553 148 OPS+Holliday same two years: 295 games 1293 PA .317/.401/.526 139 OPS+

The fact that there's a discussion pretty much show's that Holliday is a super-star.
   40. DCW3 Posted: January 08, 2010 at 07:11 PM (#3431963)
Arod the last two years: 262 games 1129 PA .295/.397/.553 148 OPS+
Holliday same two years: 295 games 1293 PA .317/.401/.526 139 OPS+


There's not much difference there, when you consider Holliday's extra playing time--over those two years, Holliday has a VORP of 120.4, while A-Rod's at 115. Now, A-Rod was better in '07 and plays in the AL, but he's also older and a weaker defensive player. As Snapper more or less says, if Holliday's not a superstar, then A-Rod's certainly not either.
   41. Depressoteric Posted: January 08, 2010 at 08:04 PM (#3432030)
Holliday is clearly a superstar. The hesitation of Voxter and others about this contract is purely based on skepticism about Coors Field, whether they fully realize it or not. And honestly, it's a skepticism that I can understand, the good half-season in St. Louis notwithstanding. It's hard to shake subjective impressions, really hard.

But yes, on the numbers alone it's ridiculous to claim that Holliday isn't one of the top 10-15 position players in all of baseball right now. As snapper says, the fact that you can reasonably compare him to A-Rod is itself sufficient evidence for that proposition.
   42. The Good Face Posted: January 08, 2010 at 08:46 PM (#3432073)
Holliday is clearly a superstar. The hesitation of Voxter and others about this contract is purely based on skepticism about Coors Field, whether they fully realize it or not. And honestly, it's a skepticism that I can understand, the good half-season in St. Louis notwithstanding. It's hard to shake subjective impressions, really hard.

But yes, on the numbers alone it's ridiculous to claim that Holliday isn't one of the top 10-15 position players in all of baseball right now. As snapper says, the fact that you can reasonably compare him to A-Rod is itself sufficient evidence for that proposition.


I don't think the hesitation you speak of is purely subjective. The numbers show that Holliday had a great 270 PA in St. Louis, but they also show a pretty-good-but-no-superstar 400 PA in the American League. The REAL league. Everything else took place in Coors, and even there he broke a 140 OPS+ exactly once.

I'd like to see him hit like a superstar for more than 1/3 of a season someplace other than Coors before I declare him one of the top 10 players in baseball.
   43. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 09, 2010 at 06:24 AM (#3432555)
Everything else took place in Coors, and even there he broke a 140 OPS+ exactly once.


That's true. It's also true that he broke a cumulative 140 OPS+ over the course of the last three years he played there.
   44. Tripon Posted: January 09, 2010 at 06:29 AM (#3432560)
40. DCW3? Posted: January 08, 2010 at 01:11 PM (#3431963)
Arod the last two years: 262 games 1129 PA .295/.397/.553 148 OPS+
Holliday same two years: 295 games 1293 PA .317/.401/.526 139 OPS+

There's not much difference there, when you consider Holliday's extra playing time--over those two years, Holliday has a VORP of 120.4, while A-Rod's at 115. Now, A-Rod was better in '07 and plays in the AL, but he's also older and a weaker defensive player. As Snapper more or less says, if Holliday's not a superstar, then A-Rod's certainly not either.


Are you kidding me? The higher OPS+ from a 3rd baseman in the tougher league? A guy who posted a post 9.0 WAR 4 times?
   45. DCW3 Posted: January 09, 2010 at 11:30 AM (#3432686)
Are you kidding me? The higher OPS+ from a 3rd baseman in the tougher league? A guy who posted a post 9.0 WAR 4 times?

1) A-Rod's OPS+ advantage is wiped out by his inability to stay on the field.
2) He's a 3B, yes, but by all indications a pretty lousy one, which puts his overall defensive value about on par with an average corner OF.
3) I assume you're being deliberately disingenuous here, as those 9 WAR seasons have very little to do with the sort of player A-Rod is today. (Heck, two of them came when he was still a shortstop.) But if WAR's your tonic, then you might note that Holliday and A-Rod have the exact same cumulative WAR over the last three seasons (and that's entirely due to A-Rod's superior 2007--Holliday was better in both '08 and '09.)
   46. RollingWave Posted: January 09, 2010 at 01:58 PM (#3432697)
Holliday's definately a super star, I think arguing against that is rather silly. he came close to winning a MVP in 07 for crying out loud.

We could all make guesses at how particular players will or will not age, but that is going foward and not what has already happened.

I would be worried about Holliday with those set of comps , his BR comps are similarly riddled with some guys who flamed out before their early 30s or couldn't play full time (Fred Lynn) his ZIP comps are also a bit better. is there something to this? time will tell.
   47. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 22, 2010 at 04:05 AM (#3483465)
Wow, I wandered away from this thread months ago and forgot all about it. First this:

The hesitation of Voxter and others about this contract is purely based on skepticism about Coors Field


Don't tell me what I do and don't think, okay?

The A-Rod discussion largely ignores the fact that Alex Rodriguez plays third base, which is a much more difficult position than LF. He doesn't do it terribly well anymore, but Holliday can't do it at all, and would almost certainly be a disaster if you asked him to. Furthermore, Rodriguez isn't a player I'd give this contract to, either, not this year or last year or the year before.

Who else?


Without thinking too hard: Miguel Cabrera, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Dustin Pedroia, Justin Upton. On top of the guys you already named. That took me a good twenty seconds. With a little actual mental exertion I could probably come up with several more -- and that ignores pitchers entirely, and soon-to-arrive prospects like Jason Heyward.

I conceded that Holliday is, today, a very good player. There's no shame in being the 25th-best or so player in baseball. If this contract were for one, two, three, four years, it would be a very good deal. For seven years it's very likely to be a flat bomb, because the odds are reasonably high that he won't be a particularly good player for as much as half of it.

My skepticism of this contract is built mostly around my belief that a player must be truly exceptional -- way more exceptional than Matt Holliday -- to get a 7 year contract when they're 30 years old.

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