Security a key issue for Matt Holliday
From Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch, we learn that the Cardinals have extended a formal offer to free agent left fielder, Matt Holliday. According to Strauss, “a source familiar with the process said it does not offer an average annual value of $18 million,” and Holliday is “seeking no-trade protection as part of any deal.” This information will likely be prevalent to the Yankees if they are, indeed, open to signing the Oklahoma native, although, for financial reasons — yes, even the Yankees have payroll concerns — it’s unlikely (but such a signing can’t be ruled out).
Remarkably, for Holliday, as unbelievable as this may sound, average annual salary has always been discussed as a secondary issue. In the past, he has candidly noted that his main priority as a free agent would be to acquire security via a long-term deal, one with a no-trade clause attached.
During spring training in 2008, when the Rockies offered Holliday a 4-year deal worth $82M (before the market crashed), he rejected the proposal because of the lack of years provided by Colorado, and because the deal was devoid of no-trade protection. “How many years is the bottom line,” Holliday noted last September when discussing the rejected contract. “The offer doesn’t even have to be market value. But half of the years that I could get on the open market, to me, is not in the same ballpark. What about when they won’t give you a no-trade clause,” he added, “and the first chance that comes up where they want to trade you, they just trade you?”
Expounding on the issue of security, Holliday stated, “The advantage of being a free agent and having a long-term deal is the security of staying in one place, right? So you can raise your family and be a part of that community… If you get a chance to entertain offers of six or seven years with a no-trade clause, you can have a chance to live a normal life for six or seven years in one city.” Thus, to Matt Holliday, the virtues of free agency revolve around long-term comfortability for him and his family. Sure, money is a big part of that, too, but geographical security — knowing you will remain in one city for 6-7 years — might be more fundamental.
These are all good things for the Yankees, who have an opening in left field. While I doubt the Steinbrenners will open the vault and pay $18M per year, perhaps if Cashman offered Holliday a $115-120M contract over 7 years, with the deal backloaded a bit — it would give the team wiggle room for a DH or SP this season, plus Alex Rodriguez will be making $10M less by the end of the deal and Derek Jeter will be gone — and a no-trade clause adorned, then the team could make something happen. That’s a lot of money, obviously, however, Holliday would be worth it assuming he maintains previous levels of production (he’s been worth nearly $30M per, on average, over the past 3 years). Perhaps the added no-trade clause, the desire to play in New York, and the annual playoff trips will be enough to sway the burly left fielder to join the Bombers. It’s a long-shot, and Scott Boras will likely be against the offer, but it can’t hurt to try.
Photo by the AP