Tag Archives: Matt Holliday

Huh: An interesting counter to the Holliday signing haters

The Cardinals were lambasted for a few reasons for the Holliday signing, whether if it was for the amount of money, the years or that no one was bidding against them.

A poster in the Fangraphs article about the Holliday signing linked a very good article from Hardball Times.

If you scroll down to the middle or so, it states that players who played 10 years and had 5,000 plate appearances 1950-2008 have a very good decline, and 1980-2008 often had peak years between ages 30-33.

From the article:

In the pre-1980 era, for players who have at least 10 years and 5,000 PA in MLB, the aging curve is pretty symmetrical around a plateau stretching from around 27 or 28 to 32. From 21 to 27 or 28 is almost a mirror image of 32 to 38. In the modern era, the player with a long and prosperous career peaks at 30 stays relatively stable until age 33, declines gradually (around two or three runs per year) after that until age 38, and then declines by around five runs per year after that.

Holliday is on pace for that and has six years so far with almost 3,700 plate appearances.

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Filed under Free agent signings, MLB

Matt Holliday, comparables and St. Louis’ $120 million bet

Matt Holliday is a good baseball player.  He hits for very good contact, he hits for good power and he has some patience and defensive value.  He’ll also likely have a regression at some point in his Cardinals career and there’s an outside chance it gets ugly.

The St. Louis Cardinals rewarded him this week, paying him $120 million for the next seven years of service–a good portion of the money will be deferred, without interest, until 2029. So over time, it’ll actually be worth less than 120 million. But that’s still a lot of money and a lot of years.

Don’t get me wrong, Holliday is a very good player. But his peak isn’t that great–take away the park and RBIs and it’s very good, but not impressive.  Plus, he’s half-way through his prime and no one knows how his decline is going to go.  Add in that Jason Bay–a player with a lower batting average, but similar OBP and relatively close power numbers who also benefitted from a hitter’s park for a few years–received a five-year, $80 million deal, nobody was bidding against the Cardinals for Holliday and the contract has a full no-trade clause and this looks considerably worse.

Fangraphs makes some good points about his UZR/150 and WAR and Holliday’s decline, though it seems to suggest his decline will come at a steady, gradual pace, which is … kind. Plus, his WAR and UZR/150 would be more important if he weren’t playing one of the least defensively important postion in the sport.

But let’s ignore the worst case scenario–the possibility of injuries or that Holliday’s had more good luck than bad over the last five years–what’s the best possible case?  That he performs well above-average for at least three or four years and above-average all seven years?

Player A: .323 BA/.390 OBP/ 35-45 HR per season/30-45 doubles per season

Player B: .318 BA/.387 OBP/25-35 HR per season/40-50 doubles per season

Guess which player is which.

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Filed under Comparables, Free agent signings, MLB

How random the playoffs are

The 2009 NLDS game 2 against the Cardinals and Dodgers is on MLB Network right now.

If ever there was a good example of how random the playoffs are, it’s this game.  Dodgers lead series, 1-0.  Cardinals lead game 2, 2-1, in the bottom of the ninth inning.  James Loney is up with two outs and hits a flare to left field. The ball is as good as caught by Matt Holliday and he loses it in the lights.  It bounces off his crotch.

Loney gets on second.  The game’s not over, though, and all they need is one more out.  Casey Blake walks.  Then Ronnie Belliard hits a soft line drive that, if it were hit in any other direction in the infield, would have been caught, but it just went right up the middle. A passed ball gets the runners to advance and Mark Loretta hits another soft liner into the outfield to win it.  Dodgers take game 2 and then take the series in game 3.

Holliday had 5 errors on the season–and even though we don’t like errors because they’re judgments, that was the definition of an error.  A replacement player in a vacuum would have caught that.  Plus, his aggregate UZR/150 over his career is positive, which makes it all that more weird.  Then a couple of walks and flare singles drop in and the Cardinals lose the game.

That dropped flyball was literally valued at 1 win.

Holliday’s performance, however, was not valued at -1 win because of that–he hit a home run earlier in the game and that is incredibly valuable.

This is anecdotal evidence, but what I’m trying to say is that dropped balls, passed balls, wild pitches and laughable fielding errors are part of the game.  That they happen in the post-season shouldn’t turn an otherwise good player into a goat.  Just ask Bill Buckner, Mickey Owen and Fred Snodgrass.

Obviously those events aren’t typical.  Baseball is also predictable–there’s a reason why the Yankees have 27 championships.  But let’s not forget that Davids do beat Goliaths for no other reason than dumb luck sometimes and success in the regular season does not guarantee success in the post-season.

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Ken Rosenthal’s idiocy.

Guess I should comment on this.

I’m gonna FJM this piece, all bold parts are Ken Rosenthal’s original.

To win now, Dodgers could deal Kemp

No, that’s not the point. If the idea was to win now, the Dodgers would have traded Kemp and Kershaw and Laroche for Miguel Cabrera in the off-season. At this point, anyone they trade would probably be a trade down (except for Rosenthal’s delirious belief that the Dodgers could get Holliday).

Make outfielder Matt Kemp available, and the Dodgers’ trade options quickly would multiply. Make Kemp available, and the team could put together a package for virtually any hitter on the trade market — the Pirates’ Jason Bay, maybe the Tigers’ Magglio Ordonez, maybe even the Rockies’ Matt Holliday.

First, let’s look at how stupid this is. Bay is a good option, with an EQA of .330 and 14 homers. Good stuff, but he’s a bad outfielder and that leaves a hole in CF for Juan Pierre to fill. Magglio is 34. Let’s assume that the Rockies are dumb enough to trade Holliday to within the division and let’s assume that the Dodgers resign him to a beaucoup bucks deal that makes him 20 mil a year for the next 7 years, that’s still another LF with no defensive value. Currently, there are no OFs within the organization that would make up for Kemp’s defensive value. On top of that, Kemp is 23 this year, is still four years short of his prime. He’s not performing at his peak so far this year, has only 5 home runs, but even in a bad year, he’s STILL CONTRIBUTING POSITIVELY (103 OPS+). Holliday just turned 28 and Bay will be 30 by the end of the year.

And to suggest that they’d trade him now, after turning down offers for Miguel Cabrera, who’s CAREER OPS+ is 141 … is stupid.

To this point, the Dodgers have resisted moving Kemp or any of their other top young players, but their stance might be changing. “If we get to the point where we can definitively improve ourselves, we’ll do it,” general manager Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Times.

This is the best. Colletti provides the most innocuous, agreeable comment (alternative Colletti quote: “If I could eat a hamburger without all the calories, I’d eat it”) and Rosenthal looks at it and says “THE SKY IS FALLING. DO YOU SEE DODGER FANS???” Granted, Holliday has averaged a 130 OPS+ in his career, but he’s not strong away from home. And if you’re going to take a risk on a player, why not take a risk on your homegrown talent.

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Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers