Friday, July 24, 2009

Dammit: Cardinals Deal for Matt Holliday

The National League Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals just got a lot better. According to FanHouse, the Redbirds are on the verge of adding a serious power hitter to their lineup.

The deal for Oakland slugger Matt Holliday brings the star back to the National League (Colorado traded him to Oakland last winter), and it nets the A's three valuable prospects. From the Cardinals perspective, it allows them to bolster their lineup without trading any current major-league players.

It's a classic trade deadline rental. Holliday is a free agent at the end of the season, and there's no way of knowing if St. Louis will be able to afford him if a team like the Yankees or Mets were to come calling.

For a Cardinals team that is just hanging on to their NL Central lead, and struggling to score runs at times even with Albert Pujols hitting like no one in baseball is hitting, this is a great move.

Holliday is hardly a butcher defensively, and he should help protect Pujols in the lineup. This isn't a classic case of an American League hitter having to adjust to National League pitching, because Holliday spent his formative years in Colorado, hitting National League pitching very well.

The only thing he has to adjust to are the expectations in St. Louis. The Cardinals have been at or near the top of the division virtually all season, they have some bright pitchers on staff, and they have the best player in baseball at first base. Holliday has to make this team better, or the deal will be viewed as a disappointment.

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