So it's now 2010 and our old friend Matt Holliday is still single. The Mets offered to go with him to the New Year's party but they grew tired of waiting and settled for the ugly girl. Congrats Jason Bay. So what gives? He's the top free agent in a weak market and yet he had to sit alone in the dark sipping champagne by himself.
Let's start with some perspective. Just how good is Matt Holliday? Over the past three years, he's generated just as many runs above replacement as Alex Rodriguez. Am I insane? Maybe, but here's a link for the WAR leader board over that time span. Now Alex played fewer games and you can argue about how bogus WAR is as a stat, but that's not the point. The point is Matt Holliday is an elite hitter and no-one's buying. Why?
The obvious answer happens to be a popular phrase from last year (2009, a long time ago). Blame the economy. The Yankees are apparently saving up money for next year. Yes, it's sensible and all, but this is still a shock coming from a team whose pockets were thought to be bottomless. The Red Sox seemingly couldn't afford Holliday either, not after sinking a boatload of dough into John Lackey. They chose to settle for the less pricey Mike Cameron. Bad economy or not, this still says the rich clubs just don't think Matt is worth top dollar. It made me wonder, is our beloved franchise partially responsible?
From 2004-2008 Matt Holliday had a bad case of Helton-itis, more commonly known as the Coors effect. He has a career 1.05 OPS at home and an .808 OPS away (that includes '09, I don't have an easy way of looking up just '04-'08). In 2009, thanks to our fearless leader Billy Beane, Holliday was finally given the chance to prove he wasn't another Coors-inflated stat monster. We all know how that turned out. Holliday flopped. It if hadn't been for a massive resurgence in St. Louis we probably wouldn't be talking about $80 - $100 million dollar contracts.
I'm curious to know if GMs have been scared off by Matt's struggles in Oakland. If he had stayed in Colorado and put up a season like 2006 (.340/.405/.607) would he now have his $100 million contract? Would he have been a Met, a Red Sox, or a Yankee? The latest news (anyone else addicted to mlbtraderumors.com?) has the Cardinals working hard to bring Holliday back into the fold.
I for one can't wait for his 2010 season, and I hope he makes it to the AL somehow. He makes a great data point in the Coor's effect debate and is an all around exciting player to watch (except when moping around in green and gold).
As a crude snapshot of Hollidy's first post-Coor's season, here's a chart of his 2009 OPS each month.
|July||1.150||Traded on July 24th
How much did Matt Holliday's stay cost him with his upcoming contract?
$0 million: Who cares what anyone does in Oakland? (28 votes)
$5 million: Blame it on the pitcher's park. (27 votes)
$10 million: He's only a great hitter in the pansy National League. (62 votes)
$15 million: We exposed him as a Coor's fake. (33 votes)
$20 million or more: We completely wrecked his payday. Yikes! (30 votes)
180 total votes