Let's not muse, at this very moment, about the A's chances of re-signing Matt Holliday past the 2009 season. Let's look at the scenario - one of only two possible - in which the A's intend to try. (The other scenario, for those who envy Cindi's GPA, is that the A's don't intend to try.)
In other words, say the A's intend to open up their pocketbook to pay a slugger competitive money to anchor the lineup over the coming years and that their "first choice" is Holliday. Factors like "Scott Boras" and "the market" could still force Oakland to pursue plans B, C, and D, but for now let's just say that the A's intention is to try to lure Holliday into staying beyond 2009 and that current payroll flexibility makes it realistic that they could make a sincere effort.
Should the "potential Holliday factor" influence the team's stance towards current opportunities they may be have a chance to pursue for 90 cents on the dollar - for example, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, or any other expensive but useful piece that may be attainable at less than market value in dollars (free agent) or talent (trade)?
I say "no" - to my way of thinking, you have to take the opportunities as they come and not pass them up for "twos in the bush." Even if you have every intention of making a truly competitive offer to Holliday, even if you believe you will have a chance of being successful in that venture, and even if the addition of a key piece now at a bargain price could compromise your ability to negotiate with Holliday, you can't pass up good opportunities now for hypotheticals - and ones that are beyond your control - later.
The A's just can't afford to pass up a great deal anytime one comes along. So as we wait to see what the market bears for Dunn and Burrell, as we wait to see what shortstops, third basemen, sluggers or starting pitchers teams may be willing to trade for less than they should demand in return, I think Oakland has to realize that oppotunities in front of you now are "things you can control," that negotiations with any free agent to be, with any agent, is in the category of "that which you cannot conrol" - and Billy Beane has to be the guy with "the wisdom to know the difference."