As we go through the cold months, longing for baseball to start up again (because my fantasy football team is 1-8 and can’t catch a break), we’ll take a look at the significant MLB happenings as trades go down and free agents sign. First up, Matt Holliday to Oakland:
Matt Holliday (OF) goes from a hitter’s park to a pitcher’s park. Holliday is a stud, so he’ll still get his, but look for decreased stats in batting average and home runs. His 2008 numbers were .321/25/88 but he was a little better at home than on the road, so look for something in the ballpark of .305/20/90 next season, assuming he can stay healthy. Holliday’s stats would have been better in 2008 had it not been for a DL stint in the middle of the season and six more days off at the end of the season. Since he averaged .265 OPS better at home over the last three years, a move to an extreme pitcher’s park won’t do him a lot of good going into his contract year.
Greg Smith (LHP) is the only confirmed player going from Oakland to Colorado. Smith is a high-ceiling kid who would be better off in a better park. His 2008 stats showed how he wore down as the season progressed. In the first half, he had 19 starts, posting a 3.43 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. After the All-Star Break, Smith posted a 5.18 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. The Coors humidor keeps scoring down for the first half of the season, so Smith is a great late round flyer and then a trade candidate by the All Star Break.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF) is also expected to be involved in the trade, but we will see. This move will really benefit him as he is getting a better park for his developing bat. Gonzalez had some good moments in 2008 as he was given the opportunity to show what he’s got in the Oakland lineup. But he struggled more than he succeeded and he might need additional minor league experience before he’s up for good. He hit 22 doubles at age 22 and those should translate into homers in the near future.
The last player likely involved is Huston Street (RP). Street is rumored to be traded to a third team after this deal is complete. Manny Corpas owners shouldn’t get too uptight just yet.