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Monday, November 10, 2008

Oakland Picks Up Matt Holliday

Kind of a surprising trade for Billy Beane to make considering their circumstances, but the AP has reported the A's have made a deal for Matt Holliday from Colorado. Via Athletics Nation, Susan Slusser at the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the return will be Huston Street, starter Greg Smith and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. (Also at Sports Illustrated with a Jon Heyman byline, and on Yahoo Sports by Tim Brown.)

I'll probably have more on this deal later on, but initially, it looks pretty even for both sides so far as I can tell. The A's are spending a little money here since they're picking up the $13.5M remaining on Holliday's contract, while unloading a reliever who clearly has seen better days in Huston Street. Rotoworld snarks:

... the Rockies did extremely well and the A's gave up too much for just one year of a player who has never played at a superstar level outside of Coors Field. Manny Corpas owners should be disappointed if Street is in the deal, as Street would likely close for the Rockies. Smith would jump right into the rotation. Gonzalez could be a candidate to play left field or even center for a year, but everything that happened in 2008 suggests that he needs more minor league time.
Street performed pretty miserably versus expectations for most of 2008, but he managed to pull together a strong September, with a 1.74 ERA, the first time he managed a sub-3.00 ERA for a single month all year. Smith posted fairly pedestrian but acceptable numbers in the mostly hitter-friendly parks and leagues that Arizona subjects its pitchers to in the minors.

What I think Rotoworld misses here is that while this erodes the A's pitching depth a bit, Street wasn't going to figure into their plans in 2009 almost without doubt; that they were able to get something of value for him, even as only a rental, is impressive enough, though they did have to throw in a couple other players, one of whom was a starter. The Rockies have hopefully learned from their 2007/8 offseason inactivity, and are looking to fix the problems they encountered as their pitching staff back of Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez were league average or worse.

Update: Ken Rosenthal has an interesting wrinkle:

The A's are not acquiring him with the intention of flipping him or even trading him in July. The team is in position to increase its payroll to as much as $80 million, and plans to contend next season.

To that end, the A's also are targeting free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal to be their leadoff man. Furcal is drawing interest from about 10 clubs, according to his agent, Paul Kinzer. The acquisition of Holliday could help persuade Furcal that the A's are serious about competing.

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