A's get Holliday from Rockies
The A's have acquired star outfielder Matt Holliday from the Colorado Rockies, SI.com has learned. Sources indicate outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, starting pitcher Greg Smith and reliever Huston Street are involved but the exact particulars of the trade are not yet known.
Holliday will have a physical on Tuesday. Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd called Holliday on Monday to give him the news.
The A's have pulled off some shocking trades before when no one expected it, but this might be an all-timer even for them. The small-market team previously shocked baseball with trades for Kevin Appier in 1999 and Johnny Damon in 2001, but those deals occurred in years the A's were a contender.
Oakland owner Lew Wolff has recently told confidants he's tired of losing, and this may be the first step toward contending again. Although they better do it soon, since Holliday is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season. He is to make $13 million next season, a princely sum for an Oakland player. The A's could also consider trading Holliday, perhaps at the deadline, if they desire.
The Rockies offered Holliday $68 million guaranteed over four years (plus a fifth year option that could have taken it to $85 million), but Holliday, knowing he can expect to double that next winter on the free-agent market, turned them down. The Rockies like Holliday, but they didn't want to meet his expected request for a deal of eight years or longer because of their experience with a deal of similar length for first baseman Todd Helton.
He has spent his entire five-year career with the Rockies, is a two-time All-Star and helped them reach the 2007 World Series. He batted .321 with 25 home runs and 88 RBIs over 139 games in 2008. It was his fourth straight .300 season, but his power numbers represented a noticeable decline from the previous two seasons when he averaged 35 homers and 125 RBIs while playing in at least 155 games both years.
Gonzalez, 23, and Smith, 24, were both rookies in 2008. Gonzalez batted .242 in 302 at-bats while Smith went 7-16 in 32 starts with a 4.16 ERA. Street, the 2005 AL Rookie of the Year, was demoted from the closer's role this season, finishing with 18 saves and a 3.73 ERA.
News of the trade was first reported by SI.com.