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Monday, October 19, 2009

L.A. Times: Agent Scott Boras compares Matt Holliday to Yankees’ Mark Teixeira

Scott Boras threw out the ceremonial first pitch in free agency today, comparing Matt Holliday to Mark Teixeira in the impact the agent believes each player can have on a club.

“These guys are blue-collar superstars,” Boras said. “They don’t hit 50 home runs, but they’re complete players. They can give you something without swinging a bat.”

Teixeira signed with the New York Yankees last winter, for $180 million. Boras would not say what his asking price would be for Holliday, but he made clear he considered Holliday’s abilities in getting on base, hitting for power and playing superior defense similar to those of Teixeira.

“There are differences between hitters and complete players,” Boras said. “Matt Holliday is a complete player.

“There is, frankly, no one like him in the market.”

Holliday and Jason Bay, both outfielders, are expected to be the top hitters available in free agency. Boras, speaking before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Angel Stadium, does not represent Bay.

Tripon Posted: October 19, 2009 at 09:26 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. A triple short of the cycle Posted: October 20, 2009 at 12:24 AM (#3358725)
Superior defense to what? By eye, I was not impressed with the man's D in left field during his stay in Oakland. Does he really grade out well statistically?
   2. Tripon Posted: October 20, 2009 at 12:26 AM (#3358738)
Above average left fielder by UZR, but again. That doesn't mean he's an above average outfielder.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 12:27 AM (#3358743)
Superior defense to what? By eye, I was not impressed with the man's D in left field during his stay in Oakland. Does he really grade out well statistically?

To the vast chasm of suck that is LF defense in general. He may not look great, but there are a lot of bad LFs.

His UZR is ~+6 per season, with a +9 and a +14 thrown in their.
   4. The Pequod Posted: October 20, 2009 at 12:51 AM (#3358825)
Commence gnashing of teeth!
   5. Darren Posted: October 20, 2009 at 12:57 AM (#3358828)
The Tex comp is a very good one. By the advanced stats, he's a quite similar player. We'll see if he gets 7/150.
   6. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 01:00 AM (#3358833)
I thought that blue collar superstars were guys like Willie Bloomquist and David Eckstein
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 01:06 AM (#3358839)
The Tex comp is a very good one. By the advanced stats, he's a quite similar player. We'll see if he gets 7/150.

Similar players offensively and defensively (good reputations at low end of the spectrum positions). Holliday is hitting FA a year older, and I think there is still some doubt about Coors stats, and his ability to make it in the AL.

I'd guess 6/115-120. I'd like the Yankees to be in at that price.
   8. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 20, 2009 at 01:06 AM (#3358840)
They can give you something without swinging a bat.

A hard time? Compliments about your hair? A lift home if your Porsche car battery has died during the game? Oh wait, defense and the ever elusive intangibles...I love those intangibles.
   9. Tripon Posted: October 20, 2009 at 01:10 AM (#3358848)
Tex is considered a great defensive 1st baseman. Holliday doesn't have nearly the defensive rep that Tex does.
   10. billyshears Posted: October 20, 2009 at 01:15 AM (#3358859)
Holliday is a very good player, but anything over 4 years is going to be a real problem. He's not so good that he is going to be especially useful in his decline phase. Nobody needs a mediocre fielding LF with a 110 OPS+ for $20 mil/year, which is what I imagine Holliday will be by age 34.
   11. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 20, 2009 at 01:23 AM (#3358874)
I think there is still some doubt about Coors stats


After all the ups and down of Holliday's season, he ended up with a 142 OPS+, following on the heels of his 140, 150 and 137 during his years as a regular in Colorado. I suspect he is what he is.
   12. Tripon Posted: October 20, 2009 at 01:26 AM (#3358879)

Holliday is a very good player, but anything over 4 years is going to be a real problem. He's not so good that he is going to be especially useful in his decline phase. Nobody needs a mediocre fielding LF with a 110 OPS+ for $20 mil/year, which is what I imagine Holliday will be by age 34.


Aren't the Yankees paying Damon $15 million to just be that?
   13. Rally Posted: October 20, 2009 at 01:41 AM (#3358905)
Holliday is 30 and a big guy, listed at 235 pounds. I don't expect a lot of defensive impact over his next contract.

Last 4 years in WAR:

Holliday 24.1
Tex 18.8

I'll leave it up to you to decide if that's an argument that Boras' client deserves the big contract, or if the Yankees overpaid for Tex.
   14. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 20, 2009 at 02:08 AM (#3358934)
Nobody needs a mediocre fielding LF with a 110 OPS+ for $20 mil/year

The Cubs do!
   15. Textbook Editor Posted: October 20, 2009 at 02:12 AM (#3358940)
Actually a Cubs overpay here makes a hell of a lot of sense, if for no other reason than they desperately need the OBP.

For the Red Sox... Pass. Let the Yankees have him. Sign Cameron to play CF, move Ellsbury over. Focus on 3B/SS.
   16. BarrettsHiddenBall Posted: October 20, 2009 at 02:18 AM (#3358945)
I thought that blue collar superstars were guys like Willie Bloomquist and David Eckstein

Nah, it's 'white, but good'.
   17. Rough Carrigan Posted: October 20, 2009 at 02:24 AM (#3358954)
Has the free agency season really begun before Scott Boras announces that there's a mystery team offering a contract of astounding duration and dollar value to one of his clients?
   18. Textbook Editor Posted: October 20, 2009 at 02:28 AM (#3358958)
It ain't FA season until Heyman writes an article about how Holliday will get Tex $.
   19. Tripon Posted: October 20, 2009 at 02:31 AM (#3358962)
Maybe he will. The Red Sox and Yankees are going to look for left fielders.
   20. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 20, 2009 at 02:48 AM (#3358980)
Actually a Cubs overpay here makes a hell of a lot of sense, if for no other reason than they desperately need the OBP.


What would be the payroll of the Cubs outfield next year with Soriano, Fukudome, Holliday, and Bradley, one of them on the bench and untradeable because of injury concerns? $65M?

Would two of them be on the bench because none can play CF? This would be great.

Nonetheless, I can see it happening.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: October 20, 2009 at 02:53 AM (#3358988)
Actually a Cubs overpay here makes a hell of a lot of sense, if for no other reason than they desperately need the OBP.

Well, except for the 6 years, $106 M left on the contract of our current LF. And the $120 M already committed for 2010 and the $100 M for 2011. The Cubs probably have less financial flexibility than I do. (No, Mr. Boras, I am not interested in signing Mr. Holliday.)

And let's not forget that the Cubs led the NL in OBP in 2008 with pretty much the same players. The walk rate was down a smidgen in 2009 but the main problem was the 23 point drop in BA (hopefully bad luck) and the 13 point drop in ISO (see Messrs. Soriano and Soto as the main culprits).

EDIT: And I think Holliday-Teixeira is a reasonable comp and, by the standards of the typical first salvo from Boras, severely under-rates Holliday. If he's starting with Tex as a comp, he'll be happy to settle for Soriano money. What a bargain!
   22. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 20, 2009 at 03:24 AM (#3359020)
Well, except for the 6 years, $106 M left on the contract of our current LF.

Yeah, this is actually what my comment was meant to reference. Apparently it did not work.
   23. Something Other Posted: October 20, 2009 at 03:26 AM (#3359022)
Teix was an overpay, just as ARod was an overpay, but the Yankees can afford those contracts (and can afford to overpay Holliday at something like 6/115). If Holliday's a 110-115 OPS+ LFer in 2014 and 2015, the Yankees are what--shelling out $19 million for an average OFer in return for getting a true star or pretty close to it for 2010 through 2013? As long as the Yankers avoid the worst of the decline phases of three or four of those four contracts arriving contemporaneously, they'll be fine. 'Course, Teix'll be 34 and 35 the same years as Holliday will be 34 and 35; Arod will be 38 and 39, Jeter will be 40 and 41, and CC will be 33 and 34. If the fountain of youth stops spouting, it could get a little ugly.
   24. Mister High Standards Posted: October 20, 2009 at 03:56 AM (#3359052)

For the Red Sox... Pass. Let the Yankees have him. Sign Cameron to play CF, move Ellsbury over


That would be a disaster. Disaster.


Teix was an overpay, just as ARod was an overpay, but the Yankees can afford those contracts


It's only an overpay if it prevents you from doing something else. It's possible that A-rod and Teix will turn out to be overpays but it's pretty doubtful in my opinion. No matter what many neo-sabs like to say it's not about "winning" trades or spending dollars the most efficiently. It's how to best allocate your resources over long term to the goal of building a consistent winning organization.

Spending less on a player but spending it more efficiently doesn't do the organization any good unless the assets conserved via efficiency is reinvested at a similar ROI.

Mark Teixeria was a perfect addition for the Yankees. I'm not convinced Holliday is, I need to do a little bit more work before I reach a conclusion on that one.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: October 20, 2009 at 05:20 AM (#3359095)
I'm not convinced Holliday is, I need to do a little bit more work before I reach a conclusion on that one.

I think he's the closest they are going to find on offense at least. Damon and Matsui are FAs of course, so that's two holes. Presumably they want to leave at least some DH time open for Posada and AROD. Holliday, Damon and Bay are the top 3 corner OF on the market and I'd consider Bay to be an awful fit for the Yanks (unless perhaps they're convinced AROD and Posada are ageless and plan to DH Bay).

So in a baseball sense, he'd be the best easily available player for LF -- we can't rule out a trade obviously. I'm sure they'd love Carl Crawford but Tampa has an option and it's hard to imagine them trading him to the Yanks. Assuming a constant payroll, the Yanks have $35 M free this year and $70 M free in 2011 so there will certainly be plenty of room to add other pieces -- i.e. it won't be hugely restrictive.

In an ideal world I might be looking to replace Swisher (make him super-sub) and/or the CFs. But there are no RF on the market and, other than Cameron, no CF of note. You'd have to have a lot of faith in Endy Chavez to think he'd add anything here.

An interesting player for the Yanks would be Russ Branyan -- if he can still fake 3B well enough to give AROD 30-40 games off. Then he also takes 60-80 games at DH and backs up LF/RF/1B.

As to starting pitchers, you've got Harden (risky) and Lackey (not a bad idea). But they can sign Holliday and one of those guys.

So I certainly don't see anybody on the market who is a better fit than Holliday and I don't see where signing him for $18 a year will restrict them from doing other useful things (not that I'm recommending it necessarily). It would be interesting to see the Yanks "go cheap" and sign 4-5 part-timers -- some combo of Branyan, a half-starting C (I've got no idea), an OF or two (Byrd, Cameron, Damon, Nady??), a decent backup IF (DeRosa? but preferably one that can handle SS for 30 games) -- and give AROD, Jeter, Posada 40 games each at DH and mix/match the rest like crazy. But I don't see that happening.

Most of this hinges on my belief that AROD can't be long for 3B -- he's old, 3B don't age well, the hip thing -- and his nearly full-time home by 2011 or 2012 at the latest is DH. So the Yanks can't lock in a player they expect to be DHing in 3-4 years. It depends on how well you think Holliday will age -- I'd guess no worse than Dye or Bernie Williams (relative) and teams still trotted them out in the OF. Still, you don't want to lock Holliday in for more than 5 years max.

Open items: I assume the Yanks have a separate and more than adequate draft/international budget and FA signings won't impact it to any significant effect. But ...

According to Cots, Victor Martinez, Mauer, Crawford, Halladay, Cliff Lee, whatever might remain of Brandon Webb, and Jeter and Rivera are slated for FA and there are names in that list the Yanks would like to have around a lot more than Holliday.
   26. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:11 AM (#3359102)
This may be Scott Boras' view. But what does the seemingly decapitated head of Pat Sajak think?
   27. toratoratora Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:38 AM (#3359106)
Gotta love Boras for dropping this chestnut in the middle of the playoffs, ala the Arod saga of 2007.
The man understands market positioning.
   28. God Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:18 AM (#3359110)
Matt Holliday is certainly a complete player. Because you're not a complete player unless you can field a fly ball with your testicles.
   29. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 20, 2009 at 11:45 AM (#3359136)
Holliday would look nice hitting in between Beltran and Wright.
   30. Stop Oppressing Zonk by Investigating His Heroes Posted: October 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM (#3359160)
Matt Holliday is like Jesus.


And let's not forget that the Cubs led the NL in OBP in 2008 with pretty much the same players. The walk rate was down a smidgen in 2009 but the main problem was the 23 point drop in BA (hopefully bad luck) and the 13 point drop in ISO (see Messrs. Soriano and Soto as the main culprits).


Right - though, I'm extraordinarily fearful that Soriano's days as a useful offensive contributor are done.... which pretty much means the Cubs offense is going to be sitting in a deep, dark hole for the rest of his contract.

I can live with Fukudome at ~10/11 mil a year, not happily, but live with it -- and Rameriz's contract is relatively appropriate. I'm hearing buzz about a Lee extension, which, despite his age - I'm not opposed to.

The only place the Cubs really have the flexibility and room for an offensive upgrade is probably SS/2B (figuring Theriot could slide over to 2B for the right SS). I wonder what Miguel Tejeda would settle for?

If it's somewhere south of 6-7 million and no more than 2 years, I might be interested.
   31. Mister High Standards Posted: October 20, 2009 at 03:52 PM (#3359353)

So I certainly don't see anybody on the market who is a better fit than Holliday


I think it's an open question for debate if it is in the Yankee's best interest to add another 6 year+ deal to there salary structure. I don't know the answer, but based on the Yankees roster I might prefer Damon at 2@25mm than Holliday at 6@120. I also think the Yankee's may look at Bay if Holliday signs with someone not the RedSox first to try and handcuff the Red Sox moves.
   32. The Original SJ Posted: October 20, 2009 at 03:57 PM (#3359362)
I would imagine the Yanks get involved to push up the price. But I don't see them signing Holiday. I bet they would stagger the monster deals a little.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: October 20, 2009 at 04:03 PM (#3359367)
It ain't FA season until Heyman writes an article about how Holliday will get Tex $.


Is this close enough?
   34. drdr Posted: October 21, 2009 at 09:09 PM (#3361411)
I wouldn't be surprised if Yankees try to bring back one of Damon and Matsui and Nady on 1 year deals. And then promise several writers a one minute with Hank for every article how Yankees are in perfect position to sign Halladay, Mauer and Crawford next year.
   35. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 21, 2009 at 09:21 PM (#3361426)
how Yankees are in perfect position to sign Halladay, Mauer and Crawford next year.

Oy. That would definitely make me upset to see something like that.
   36. Tripon Posted: October 21, 2009 at 09:24 PM (#3361430)
Heyman's says that's Holliday's wishlist is the N.Y. Teams, then the L.A. Teams which is weird since the Dodgers and Angels won't need a LF next year.

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