Holliday Posturing

matt-holliday-asThe latest on Matt Holliday is that the Yankees aren’t interested (per Buster Olney), the Angels aren’t either, and the Red Sox and Jason Bay appear to be on the same wavelength. That said, the Mets may have only the Cardinals to bid against when the Holliday auction begins — right?

Not necessarily …

First of all, I’m not buying the idea that the Yankees “aren’t interested” — and same goes with the Angels, Red Sox, and every other team that can afford Matt Holliday’s Scott Boras’ contract demands.

I’m cynical because I look to past history as an indicator of the future. And around this time last year, the Yankees were NOT going to re-sign Andy Pettitte, and were “out of the running” on Mark Teixeira ten days before signing him. A year prior, those same Yankees insisted — repeatedly — that they would not re-sign Alex Rodriguez if he opted out of his contract. Suffice to say, I take any information regarding the Yankees’ interest with a grain of salt.

Additionally, I find it hard to believe the Angels won’t pursue Holliday. They needed a big bat last winter — offering Teixeira a huge deal — and could lose both Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero this winter. Boras claims Holliday is on par with Teixeira, and if Arte Moreno agrees, he may offer something similar to the 8-year, $160M contract that Teixeira turned down. Holliday makes more sense for the Angels now, considering that first baseman Kendry Morales had a breakout year and they will have a LF / DH void if (when) Vlad leaves. Moreno has the cash to do it, though he will likely first try to retain John Lackey and possibly Figgins.

As far as the Red Sox go, it does seem that they like Bay and Bay likes Boston. But you have to figure that the Bosox will at least look into Holliday, if for no reason than to accelerate talks with Bay.

What it looks like to me, at this early point in the free agent season, is posturing on the part of the suitors. No one is willing to show their hand, especially with Scott Boras in charge of the proceedings.

If indeed history is any indicator, the Matt Holliday sweepstakes will go on for at least a month and a half — or longer — and a number of interested parties will be inquiring in due time.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude November 17, 2009 at 6:57 pm
    Great points. Any Met fan demanding Omar to sign Holliday and already penciling him in to next season’s everyday lineup needs to realize that the courtship between the Mets and Boras is not going to be that cut and dry. He is going to pressure the eventual signing team into a deal beneficial for only his client, and will escalate the true value of his client in conjunction with a thinning free agency landscape, and with leakage of other bids from other large-market teams, regardless if they hold water or not. And, in the end, Holliday may opt to sign with whatever team he prefers, and I’m pretty sure we can all agree there aren’t many free agents these days who would choose to play for the Mets rather than the Yankees, Red Sox, or Angels if given their choice.

    So for the sake of “keeping it real,” let’s try to keep the chants of THE METS NEED HOLLIDAY to a minimum because, whether they need him or not, it still doesn’t mean they have any better of a chance than a snowball in hell to sign him. Kapeesh?

  2. astromets November 17, 2009 at 11:18 pm
    Maybe the Angels are low on him because they weren’t impressed playing against him. Either way, I can see them making a trade for Granderson if the Yankees don’t. If the Yankees don’t trade for Granderson, like if they are beat to it by the Angels, I figure them to resign Damon because he hits so well at the new stadium. Then the Red Sox seem to have a connection to Bay; so it does seem to me like Mets vs. Cardinals, and the Giants will be mentioned.
  3. Nick November 18, 2009 at 2:55 am
    I’m sorry I hate to troll, but I don’t understand Buster Olney’s twitter. I know he’s a “baseball insider”, but why does New York have to keep other bidder’s honest? Are they really going to keep contacts with an agent (whose client they don’t plan on signing) to ensure that somehow everybody won’t lowball his star client just because the Yankees aren’t in the bidding. Isn’t that a little far-fetched? It’s comments like these that make me think all these baseball insiders don’t know what the heck they’re talking about but post their opinions just so their voice doesn’t go unheard for more than a day. And Joe Janish, where the heck is your opinion of Peter Gammon’s claim (and it’s another one of those doozies) that Jeff Wilpon is running the show as Met’s GM?
  4. joejanish November 18, 2009 at 3:41 am
    Nick I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that writers “post their opinions just so their voice doesn’t go unheard for more than a day”. They need to create news so people buy or click,right?

    As for Wilpon running the show … I somewhat disagree. The Mets have reached a point where the fan base runs the show. The Mets don’t have much of a plan other than to react to whatever seems to be the prevailing public perspective / opinion, in the interest of appeasing the fans and in turn selling tickets.

  5. isuzudude November 18, 2009 at 10:56 am
    Nick: Maybe Joe forgot, but he did write up a post regarding the Gammons comment on October 15. http://www.metstoday.com/3921/shea-what/mets-whos-the-boss/
  6. Mic November 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm
    1. Lets quick flash into history; As I trumpet wherever possible joe mcilvaine was fired and replaced with one steve phillips for NOT making a deadline trade of Mark Clark and Lance Johnson for Mel rojas and brian Mcrae (with Turk Wendell thrown in)…i think Joe was right..But I state this to say that (as Omar is finding out) no matter what is publicly stated, the wilpons are driving the bus…and the schizophrenia of fans (not just metsfans) has them pulled in every direction.

    Thats why you have a GM. To make a plan /philosophy and roadmap that is to be followed. The Mets we know just as with the instance I cited, the Zambrano-Kazmir AND Jason Bay debacles..proved they absolutely CANNOT stick to a plan. They say they are rebuilding the farm one minute only to open the flood gates and empty the farm the next.

    THE GOOD thing is we DO have a solid core. A healthy Beltran, Santana, Wright, reyes and Francouer are not chopped liver. If Ollie can return, Nieve, Niese and possibly maine contribute. If Parnall the reliever, Krod, Green and other provide a solid pen…that s a good core.

    I have stayed away from the Delgado debate. I think the hip is too risky. I’d rather risk nick Johnson (right now). That said I think Murphy could be OK, but if they do pencil Murphy in the MUST get more at 2nd and LF. I’d like to pencil in Danny Murphy, but I think his best return is in trade. I think he and Pelfrey in a package might be enticing to a cost controlled team, who…like us…sees Murphy as Overbay2, only 7M cheaper. The Mets have Ike Davis on track why block him with Murphy? Nick Johnson could handle 1st temporarily while Ike matures.

    Dayn Perry and the other media humorists are postulating… Some of the stuff I have read I think is junk. But some are actually quite good. I wasnt really thinking about Lackey but now I kinda like him as that Derek Lowe type but with a higher ceiling.

  7. joejanish November 18, 2009 at 12:16 pm
    Mic – good points, and obviously you are preaching to the choir.

    The problem is that the Mets DO have a “solid core” and they know it. In other words, they have enough proven, known talent to keep everyone’s hopes up (and wallets out). They also know that the NL East is a division that can be won without having to assemble a dominant squad — one misstep by the Phillies and it’s a four-horse race. So there’s no need to go crazy acquiring top talent for all 25 spots on the roster.

    Yet, they spend more money than anyone in MLB other than the Yankees. It’s frustrating to watch them throw money at their problems, then fish for excuses because “we have the highest payroll, so therefore we’re trying”. Not unlike the Yankees of the 1980s.

  8. Nick November 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm
    Yeah izuzu I don’t know how I missed it, but I do see joe did address it.
    I thought it was an outrageous story. If you think about it, maybe Omar is not as highly regarded any longer amongst the elites of GM’s, but to think he would stay on as a frontman for a boy playing with daddy’s toys is just ridiculous. But I think to myself, what if this was true? After the collapses, the Bernazard debacle (whom Joe for a long time advocated canning), and the unfortunate NLCS of ’06, wouldn’t THAT be the most embarrassing thing for the Mets? To find out that Jeff is practicing to be GM with a team well in position to contend and dominate with all the resources at their disposal.

    I don’t know guys, between the chokes, the strange medical evaluations, and stories of the owner’s son playing as an executive of a Major Leauge Baseball, it’s starting to feel like the 90’s where its embarrassing to walk down the street in a Mets hat. I’m sure you’ve gone over this over the past two years, but I can’t stop thinking what happened to that complete team we had just a couple of years ago?

  9. Nick November 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm
    About Holliday or Bay, I’ll say the same thing that I said last year about Teixeira. I would much rather 2-3 decent pieces than Holliday or Bay. Throw your money and years at Figgins (so reyes can slide down to the two hole), Wolf, Pineiro, some shiny bullpen pieces, and gamble on Delgado (he’s probably the only one who could hit homers in this park).
    What is Holliday going to do? Stabilize a lineup that even with Delgado in it felt like it needed one more productive bat.
    I would love to have Lackey, but he is grossly overpriced and lets face it, the Mets are not the Yankees. They spend money to make money, not to win championships.
  10. joejanish November 18, 2009 at 12:53 pm
    Nick – good points and worthy questions.

    I’m not sure Minaya ever was considered an “elite” GM — the rumblings I heard from people in the industry was that he was a decent talent evaluator but his GM skills were sketchy.

    Looking back, the 2006 season — which brought me great joy — was built as a house of cards. A lot of things went right, including career-type years for several aging vets combining with the blossoming of Wright and Reyes. It was an NL team built like an AL team, with tons of offense — but there was no pitching. So once the other NL teams started stockpiling bats, the Mets’ advantage was gone — and not only did they have questionable pitching on the big club, but very few arms on the farm.

    In the end, no matter what era of the game you’re discussing, the successful teams are built on pitching — and develop it in their minor leagues. Instead of addressing that issue, and building pitching DEPTH, the Mets made a few big splashes (Johan, Wagner, K-Rod) and applied band-aids, wishing for another magical 2006. Hopes, wishes, and waves of the magic wand (in the form of big-name acquisitions) only get you so far.

    Over the past five years, you could argue that the Mets’ farm system went backward. At BEST, it’s in the same spot it was in 2004.

  11. joejanish November 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm
    Nick – I’m with you 100% on your opinions re: Holliday, Bay, and Lackey. Getting two of those players is no magic elixir for this club of many holes, and the Mets need to get away from being saddled with multiyear, multimillion-dollar contracts held by players over 30.

    Spend money on the future, not the past.

  12. mic November 18, 2009 at 11:05 pm
    A few teams develop really well. The Phils are poised to be if not already are a dynasty with Bastardo Kyle Drabek and AJ Happ waiting.

    _BUT hold it..didnt they just get Cliff Lee over Halladay to preserve the stable?

    The yanks balked at Santana rather than give up Hughes and Ian Kennedy…

    Likewise signing Lackey circumvents trading for Halladay ..who comes with no more guarantees than Lackey does BUT will cost F-mart and 4 other players.

    My personal opinion is that any deal the Mets make should be from a list not including Fmart, Reese Havens, Ike Davis Kirk N, Jenry, or Jeurys Familia. Rather Maine, Pelfrey, Murphy, Bowman, Holt, Moviel are primary pieces to trade along with other ML parts.

    I feel Pelfrey is a great start to get Phillips and even Bronson Arroyo. Yes I think Pel could will be a 15 win pitcherbut I dont think he will be the David Cone we hoped for. …right now he looks more like Bobby Jones….a perennial 4th starter. I have lobbied for Piniero in the past, and this off season I am lobbying for Pedro again, now he is shown some health.

    Point is dont sell the farm anymore..Rather as one blog points out just spend that $50M that is already off the books. How that money gets spent…I am betting one big trade…of the 5-6 player variety, one big FA LF OR SP. And 4-5 mid tier signings.

  13. Nick November 19, 2009 at 3:08 am
    Speaking of not selling the farm, are we really so eager to give up on the stock that has come out? Your not the only one who has thrown Pelfrey into trade discussions. I know he’s not a ‘prospect’ anymore, but ask yourself this, would you really be surprised if Pelfrey came out gunning in the two spot and established himself as Santana’s complement next year? I didn’t think so, so why sell low on a commodity that has every chance to explode? I remember it was 2 years ago, I think versus Boston when one of the ESPN announcers declared that “a star is born” after Pelfrey dominated the opposing lineup through 8. That star has dimmed since, but you don’t sell a player like that for a second basemen, or an aging, pricey, has-been pitcher.
    I’m also not sold on keeping the farm for the purposes of believing that we’re going to be flooded with major leauge all stars like the Red Sox had. Face it, that organization has been a freak of nature this past decade with the talent that came out of their minors. Remember our blue chip lastings milldege? Where is he now? These players don’t pan out most of the time, if you can get good value then the minors are there to be traded, but not every deal has to be a skinning of the farm (a la Santana, though I’m sure nobody would ever not do that trade!) If you can package martinez for Edwin Jackson, why not? Your getting real value in a young upcoming stud, as opposed to somebody whose going to either fail or leave in free agency in exchange for a question mark. I loved Joe’s post about how little value the Mets get in their trades (which is just another embarrassment), but this shouldn’t be something that discourages trading minor leaugers.
    And btw Joe, I’m sure your remember when Minaya first came on the scene and he was a golden boy of sorts for the two years leading up to 2007. He did a great job picking up players of the scrap heap, and assembled the strongest relief corp (maybe in the majors) by other teams castoffs. It was a complete team (’06) in every definition of the word. We had a great bench, and we had starters that, as you’ve pointed out, overperformed, but they nonetheless performed even if it was that one stretch of time. That’s why I am so perplexed at the nature of the Mets today. Am I living a false reality by characterizing the Mets of ’05 – ’07 in this way?