Today I will discuss the signing of the biggest bat on the free agent mark, a minor deal for two spare parts, and a player re-upping with his squad after a fine all-around season in 2009.
Holliday Remains with Cardinals
How does he do it? Super agent Scott Boras got the Cardinals to bid against themselves, and the result was a 7-year, $120 million deal for Matt Holliday. The deal is for $17 million a year – slightly better than the $16.5 million Jason Bay’s deal with the Mets is for – and it includes a full no-trade clause. I hate Boras, but I tell you this; if I was a player he would certainly be my agent. I guess the Cardinals determined they could afford to dump more than $40 million a year on Holliday and Albert Pujols to strike fear into opponents from the center of their lineup (Pujols’ contract is coming up), but we’ll have to see if it hampers their ability to construct a team around their dynamic duo. One last note. If Holliday finishes in the top-10 in NL MVP voting in the 7th year of the deal an option for $17 million kicks in for an eighth season. Hopefully the fans in St. Louis can forgive him for trying to use his cup as a glove in the playoffs against the Dodgers. To spare Mr. Holliday I will not post a link to the failed catch, though it certainly isn’t hard to find online. For more on the Holliday signing click on the link to Holliday Signs with Cardinals.
Kotchman Traded for Hall
A deal that will reverberate for the next, oh, two days, was completed on Tuesday as the Mariners sent Bill Hall to the Red Sox in exchange for Casey Kotchman. Here is the upside of the deal which, surprisingly, has some extended ramifications.
1- Kotchman, a slick fielder, should make about $5 million in arbitration this year. His addition to the Mariners signals that slugger Russell Branyan won’t be returning to the Pacific Northwest. Kotchman hit .268 with seven homers and 48 RBI last season for the Braves and Red Sox in 385 at-bats. He is a doubles hitter who could push .300 if things broke right, but he doesn’t have the bat of your traditional first baseman.
2- Even with the move of Kotchman out of town, the Red Sox still don’t seem to have any plans for Mike Lowell. The Sox, who acquired Adrian Beltre earlier in the week, you can see me break down that signing in Beltre to Join Red Sox, will go with Beltre at third, Kevin Youkilis at first and David Ortiz at DH. Look for Lowell to be dealt at some point once spring training begins (you can keep up on the latest news at the Baseball Guy’s Twitter Page ).
3- As for Hall… some of us will fondly remember his massive 2006 season (.270-35-85-101-8), but since that time he has regressed, and substantially, the past couple of seasons. Last year he hit a mere .201 with eight homers in 334 at-bats for the Brewers and the Mariners, and that .596 OPS was simply ghastly. Hall is versatile, he can play second, third and the outfield, but he must be on the bench when there is a righty on the on the hill (.186/.261/.328 in 204 at-bats last season). He is a fine 25th man for a club like the Red Sox, just don’t expect him to become fantasy relevant with this move.
Gutierrez Signs 4-Year Deal with Mariners
Franklin Gutierrez parlayed a fine 2008 season into a 4-year, $20.5 million deal with the Mariners. You might be thinking to yourself something akin to ‘really, they gave that guy $20 mil? Where’s my glove?’ but the truth is that Gutierrez is better than you probably think. He finished near the top of many defensive metrics last season flashing great skill on defense, and though he hit a mere .283-18-70-85-16 last season, the totality of those numbers are actually very impressive. Here is a quote lifted directly from my Breaking Down: Franklin Gutierrez piece from October 27th, 2009. “In 2009, Franklin Gutierrez was one of only nine men who managed to hit at least .280 with 18 homers, 70 RBI, 85 runs and 15 steals, and one of just four full-time outfielders to pull off the trick.” Like I said, better than you thought right?
By Ray Flowers