As the trade deadline approaches, the St. Louis Cardinals have acquired the services of outfielder Matt Holliday pending medical clearance and league approval. The Oakland Athletic’s slugger is said to be the premier bat on the trade market this summer. In 2009, he is hitting .286/.378/.454 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs. The 29-year-old will offer protection for Albert Pujols who has drawn a league leading 34 intentional walks this season.
The price was steep for Holliday to say the least. Going west will be minor league third baseman Brett Wallace, right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen, and outfielder Shane Peterson. Wallace and Peterson were the team’s first and second round picks in 2008 while Mortensen was a supplemental first round pick in 2007. Also, the Athletics will send a reported $1.5 million to the Cardinals to help offset Holliday’s salary.
The Cardinals were said to be working on a deal to acquire Holliday from the Colorado Rockies this past off-season. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the A’s offered a better bounty of prospects and he was sent to Oakland. The change of parks and leagues proved to be tough on Holliday as he hit only .240/.288/.360 during the first month of the season.
Since the beginning of May, the 1998 seventh round pick has rebounded nicely, hitting .299/.400/.480 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs. Not only will he bring his big bat to the lineup but he provides above average defense in left field.
As the weather has heated up, so has Holliday. In July, he has hit .338/.413/.574 in 68 at bats. The native Oklahoman will be joining Cardinals’ sluggers Pujols and Ryan Ludwick who have been solid this month as well. Pujols is hitting .313/.436/.578 while Ludwick has been incredible with a line of .391/.449/.681.
As mentioned above the price was steep for the Cardinals’ new left fielder. With the graduation of Colby Rasmus to the majors, Wallace ranks as the organization’s top prospect. Mortensen, also, ranks in the organization’s top 10 and is considered the team’s top starting pitcher in the minor leagues. Though Peterson did not rank in the Birdhouse’s Top 40 this past winter, he surely would have this postseason. In stops in High Class-A and Double-A, he has hit .295/.361/.423.
This is the third trade the Cardinals have made in recent weeks. First, they picked up third baseman Mark DeRosa, considered to be the second best hitter on the market. Earlier this week, the team sent embattled Chris Duncan for veteran middle infielder Julio Lugo.
UPDATE:From our Brian Walton who is at the ballpark. The Cardinals and General Manager John Mozeliak have scheduled a press conference for 5PM EST to officially introduce Holliday. Brian Barden has been optioned to Memphis to make room for Holliday. The newest Cardinal will be wearing number 15.
1. Lugo 2B
2. DeRosa 3B
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Ludwick RF
6. Molina C
7. Ankiel CF
8. Ryan SS
9. Pineiro P
Stay tuned here at the Birdhouse for more from Citizens Bank Park on the Holliday trade. Our Brian Walton will be with the team in Philadelphia later today.
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